BEIJING, Jul (Reuters) - The bid by Nestle NESN.VX, the world’s largest food company, to gain a 60 percent stake in Chinese confectioner and snacks maker Hsu Fu Chi International HSFU.SI, is under review by the Ministry of Commerce, a ministry spokesman said on Friday.
Nestle’s $1.7 billion bid is a move to expand into the world’s second-largest economy and other Asian markets, where strong economic growth has boosted consumers’ purchasing power.
The Commerce Ministry’s anti-monopoly bureau will evaluate the application, the state-run news agency Xinhua quoted ministry spokesman Yao Jian as saying at a news conference.
Nestle and Hsu Fu Chi announced the bid earlier this week.
If it is completed, the deal will be one of the biggest acquisitions of a Chinese firm by a foreign company.
The deal will allow Nestle to increase its footprint in emerging markets and get closer to catching up with rivals Danone and Unilever.
The Vevey, Switzerland-based maker of KitKat chocolate bars and Nescafe coffee strengthened its dairy business in China earlier this year when taking a 60 percent stake in Yinlu Foods Group for an undisclosed sum.
Reporting by Terril Yue Jones; Editing by Greg Mahlich