Danone raises bid for Pfizer baby food unit: report

PARIS Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:21am EDT

A general view with a giant jar of yogurt is seen outside the exhibition to mark the 90th anniversary of the French foods company Danone, in Paris April 2, 2009. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

A general view with a giant jar of yogurt is seen outside the exhibition to mark the 90th anniversary of the French foods company Danone, in Paris April 2, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Jacky Naegelen

PARIS (Reuters) - French food group Danone (DANO.PA) has raised its offer for Pfizer's (PFE.N) infant nutrition business to close to $11 billion in an attempt to outbid rival Nestle (NESN.VX), according to news website WanSquare.

Danone managers, advised by Lazard, were in New York at the end of this week to conclude the transaction as quickly as possible, WanSquare said.

Nestle earlier this week was seen closing in on a deal to buy the Pfizer unit for up to $10 billion, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The Swiss group wants the deal in order to boost its business in China and extend its lead in the world of infant formula.

Danone, which is bidding along with Mead Johnson (MJN.N), needs the business as otherwise analysts say it will face a problem of how to expand.

The Pfizer unit being sold is a high-growth, $2.1 billion turnover business with over 70 percent of sales in emerging markets and a key position in China.

Danone declined to comment.

(Reporting by James Regan and Noelle Mennella; Editing by Mark Potter)

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