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Goldman Sachs Buyout Arm Plans Hearthside Food Sale

Shruti Singh, Ed Hammond
Several Granola Bars Isolated on a White Background with Narrow Depth of Field.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s private equity arm and Vestar Capital Partners are exploring a sale of U.S. food manufacturer Hearthside Food Solutions LLC, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company could fetch about $2.5 billion in a sale, one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the details aren’t public. No final decision has been made and the firms may choose not to proceed with a sale, the people said.

Representatives for Goldman Sachs and Vestar didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. An external spokesman for Hearthside said there was no change pending and he had no further information.

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Goldman Sachs and Vestar agreed to purchase Hearthside Food in 2014 from Wind Point Partners for about $1.1 billion, people familiar with the deal said at the time. Hearthside, which makes snacks including granola bars and cookies sold under consumer-product companies’ brand names, was acquired by Wind Point in 2009.

Food industry deals have had an active start to 2018. Italian Nutella maker Ferrero SpA could reach a deal to acquire Nestle SA’s U.S. confectionery business for about $2.8 billion as soon as this week, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday. Post Holdings Inc. said Thursday it will explore strategic alternatives for its private brands businesses, which produce nut butter, dried fruit and nut, pasta and granola products.

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