WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nestle SA, the world's largest food and drink company, is in talks to buy a Chinese candy maker in a deal that would cost roughly $2.6 billion, according to a published report.
A deal to purchase Hsu Fu Chi International is in the works but has not been finalized, Bloomberg News reported. It cited three unidentified people familiar with the discussed deal.
A spokeswoman for the Swiss foodmaker said the company doesn't comment on market speculation. Officials at Hsu Fu Chi's offices in Dongguan, China, could not be reached for comment.
Hsu Fu Chi, which sells candies, cakes and pastries, was started in 1992 by four Taiwanese brothers. It has grown into one of China's largest confectionary companies.
Nestle has nearly saturated the U.S. with its products, which appear in 96 percent of U.S. households, including nine brands that bring in more than $1 billion apiece here.
But the company's strongest growth in its core food and drinks business has occurred in developing countries, including Asia, and its executives have outlined goals to substantially increase its revenue in Africa, Asia, Europe and elsewhere over the next decde.