Switzerland's Barry Callebaut said it expects to finalize a deal to take over a majority in German chocolate producer Stollwerck from the Imhoff family in the next few weeks.
Changing faces: chocolate in Germany
Barry Callebaut AG, the world's largest manufacturer of cocoa and chocolate products, confirmed that it was in talks on buying German chocolate producer Stollwerck AG.
A Barry Callebaut spokeswoman told Handelsblatt that her company expected to close a deal "in a few weeks." Stollwerck, whose brands include Sarotti, Sprengel and Alpia, declined to comment.
The Imhoff family holds 95% of Stollwerck's share capital, while 5% is in free float. A 30% stake held by the Imhoff family is due to be transferred to a charitable trust in the next few weeks. The family hopes to raise around 300 million euros from the sale of its remaining 65% stake, people familiar with the matter said.
Stollwerck has annual sales of around 750 million euros but recently sold off its East European operations to Kraft Food International, part of U.S. food group Kraft Foods Inc.
Stollwerck said at the time that it did not plan additional divestments but speculation about a sale of the whole group persisted.