Reckitt Benckiser sells food business to McCormick

Reckitt French's mustard Image copyright Reckitt

The US owner of Schwartz herbs and spices has won the battle to acquire Reckitt Benckiser's food business in a deal worth $4.2bn (£3.2bn).

McCormick & Co saw off competition from consumer giant Unilever and Hormel Foods, the US owner of Spam, to buy the division.

It includes French's mustard as well as Franks' RedHot and Cattlemen's sauces.

The deal will help Reckitt Benckiser pay off debt after buying baby formula maker Mead Johnson for $17.9bn.

The chief executive of Reckitt Benckiser, Rakesh Kapoor, said: "Following the acquisition of Mead Johnson Nutrition, this transaction marks another step towards transforming RB into a global leader in consumer health and hygiene."

Reckitt Benckiser's share price rose by 1.62% to £79.39.

The acquisition will cement McCormick's position in the US sauce and condiments market, which is worth around $21bn a year according to research by IBISWorld.

Lawrence Kurzius, chief executive at McCormick said the deal enables his business "to become a one-stop shop for condiment, spice and seasoning needs."

Last year, McCormick attempted to buy Premier Foods, the maker of Mr Kipling cakes and Bisto gravy. However, it walked away after being unable to offer a high enough price for the business.

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