Nestle’s Selling Its Spring Water Brand For $4.3 Billion

Mainstream bottled water has faced fierce competition from store brands, making the category less attractive for Nestlé, which in recent years has sought to sharpen its focus on faster-growing, more lucrative products like infant formula, coffee, and plant-based foods.

Nestle has decided to hand over its Nestle Waters North America brands to One Rock Capital Partners LLC in partnership with Metropoulos & Co. for $4.3 billion. The divestment will see the world’s biggest packaged-food company selling its regional spring water brands, purified water business and beverage delivery service in the U.S. and Canada, Nestle said Tuesday.

Nestle’s international premium brands including Perrier, S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna aren’t part of the deal, which is predicted to be completed after customary closing conditions, it said. The sale includes brands such as Poland Spring and Ice Mountain. Sales in 2019 of these brands in the U.S. and Canada were around 3.4 billion Swiss franc ($3.81 billion).

The agreement follows Nestle’s announcement last year that it would carry out a strategic review of parts of the North American waters division and sharpen the focus of its global water portfolio. “This sale enables us to create a more focused business around our international premium brands, local natural mineral waters and high-quality healthy hydration products,” Mark Schneider, Nestle’s CEO, said.

The company also reiterated its commitment to make its entire water portfolio carbon neutral by 2025.

Almost 160 years later, and I’m still not sure we’re giving the Swiss multinational food and drink processing conglomerate its due praise for being among the steadfast behemoths of food and drink brands. The product line includes baby food, medical food, bottled water, breakfast cereals, coffee and tea, confectionery, dairy products, ice cream, frozen food, pet foods, and snacks. 

Twenty-nine of Nestlé’s brands have annual sales of over 1 billion CHF (roughly $1.1 billion), including Nespresso, Necafe, Kit Kat, Smarties, Nesquik, Stouffer’s, Vittel, and Maggi. Nestlé has 447 factories, operates in 189 countries, and employs around 339,000 people. It is one of the main shareholders of L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetics company.

Nestlé was formed in 1905 by the merger of the Anglo-Swiss Milk Company, established in 1866 by brothers George and Charles Page, and Farine Lactée Henri Nestlé, founded in 1867 by Henri Nestle. The company grew significantly during the First World War and again following the Second World War, expanding its offerings beyond its early condensed milk and infant formula products.

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