Swiss food giant Nestle SA won the bidding war for Source Perrier SA today as Italy's Agnelli family agreed to drop its efforts to buy the French mineral water giant.
Nestle and the Agnellis had been locked in a fight for more than three months for Source Perrier, whose brands include Poland Spring, Great Bear and Arrowhead as well as its flagship Perrier. Nestle and its ally Banque Indosuez of France agreed to raise their bid for Perrier to about $2.6 billion from $2.3 billion.
In other chocolate-related news, Quaker Oats Co. says it is selling Ghirardelli Chocolate Co. to a Boston-based investment firm, Thomas H. Lee Co.
Chicago-based Quaker, which put the chocolate business up for sale three years ago, announced yesterday it expects to complete the sale within a month. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but analysts placed Ghirardelli's value at between $15 million and $20 million.