Nestle to Sell Givaudan Stake Worth $1.27 Billion

Nestle SA is selling Givaudan SA shares worth $1.27 billion at yesterday’s closing price to institutional investors, winding down its stake in the world’s largest flavorings maker.

Nestle plans to sell all of its 926,562 Givaudan shares, according to a statement on its website. Nestle acquired the stake in 2002 when Givaudan bought Nestle’s food-ingredient business for 750 million Swiss francs -- $450 million at the time -- in cash and shares.

“Nestle has been very satisfied with its holding but believes now is the appropriate time to divest,” the company said.

The Nespresso coffee maker was the second-biggest owner of Givaudan shares with a 10 percent stake as of Dec. 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is managing the sale, which has yet to be completed.

Nestle, based in Vevey, Switzerland, last month sold most of its Jenny Craig diet business to North Castle Partners as it embarks on an effort to dispose of underperforming units. Chief Executive Officer Paul Bulcke has said the company is drawing up a short list of businesses it’s looking to sell after identifying laggards it can’t fix.

Givaudan shares closed at 1,236 francs yesterday in Zurich trading. The stock has more than doubled since Jan. 18, 2002, the day the deal with Nestle was announced.

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