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Exclusive: Nestle close to deal to sell Poland Spring to buyout firm One Rock - sources

Joshua Franklin and Arno Schuetze
·1-min read

By Joshua Franklin and Arno Schuetze

(Reuters) - Nestle SA has entered into exclusive talks to sell its North American bottled water business, whose brands include Pure Life and Poland Spring, to private equity firm One Rock Capital Partners LLC, people familiar with the matter said.

The brands to be sold, which also include Deer Park, Ozarka, Ice Mountain, Zephyrhills and Arrowhead, could be valued at more than $4 billion, including debt, one of the sources said.

If the negotiations conclude successfully, a deal could be announced as early as this month, said the sources, who requested anonymity because the deal discussions are confidential.

The sources cautioned that there is no certainty an agreement between Nestle and One Rock will ultimately be reached.

One Rock declined to comment. Nestle also declined to comment.

Nestle, whose products include KitKat chocolate bars and Nescafe coffee, had said in June it was exploring a potential sale of part of its North American water business.

The Vevey, Switzerland-based company's boss Mark Schneider has said the company wanted to keep control of premium water brands like Perrier and San Pellegrino, and sell the rest of its lower-growth portfolio that is less lucrative.

Bottled water sales have come under pressure amid environmental concerns about plastic waste and transportation.

But the global market for bottled water packaging market is seen growing to $278 billion by 2026 from $181.7 billion in 2020, research firm Mordor Intelligence has estimated.

Based in New York, One Rock manages about $3.2 billion of committed capital across three flagship funds, its website said.

(Reporting by Joshua Franklin in Miami and Arno Schuetze in Frankfurt; Additional reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York and Paul Arnold in Zurich. Editing by Jane Merriman)