Nestle sells Poland Spring, other water brands for $4.3B


Nestle is selling its North American bottled water business to a pair of private equity firms in an effort to focus on high-end hydration products.

One Rock Capital Partners and Metropoulos and Co. will pay $4.3 billion for seven Nestle water brands — including Poland Spring, Pure Life, Deer Park and Zephyrhills — along with the ReadyRefresh office beverage delivery service.

Nestle announced the deal Wednesday as it works to revamp its massive bottled water business, which struggled with declining sales last year.

“This sale enables us to create a more focused business around our international premium brands, local natural mineral waters and high-quality healthy hydration products,” Nestle CEO Mark Schneider said in a statement.

The Swiss conglomerate said it will hang onto its premium water brands including Perrier, San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna amid a strategic review of its water portfolio.

Metropoulos and Co. boss Dean Metropoulos — the Greek-born billionaire known for turning around struggling outfits such as Hostess Brands and Pabst Brewing Company — will take over as the chairman and interim CEO of Nestle Waters North America after the sale closes this spring.

The Connecticut-based business has some 7,200 employees in the US and Canada and 27 production facilities across North America, according to a news release.

“This is an important inflection point for the business as it transitions to an independent company,” Metropoulos said in a statement.

Nestle isn’t the only beverage conglomerate to slim down its brand portfolio in recent months. Coca-Cola announced in October that it would shelve about 200 brands, including the pioneering diet soda Tab.

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