January 27, 2015 / 11:25 AM / 4 years ago

Italy's Lavazza to cut Keurig stake to fund acquisitions

Green Mountain Roasters President and CEO Brian Kelley (L) and Senior Vice President Mark Wood cut the ribbon to open the company's first Keurig retail store in Burlington, Massachusetts November 8, 2013. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy’s Lavazza has trimmed its stake in U.S.-based coffee group Keurig Green Mountain GMCR.O and plans to cut it further by at least another 2.8 percent as it raises cash for acquisitions, the coffee maker said in a U.S. regulatory filing.

Lavazza, the world’s seventh-largest coffee maker, has submitted a binding offer of more than 600 million euros ($677 million) for two French coffee brands, sources told Reuters earlier this month.

The Turin-based group last week cashed in $50 million from the sale of 0.23 percent of Keurig, according to Reuters calculations based on a Jan. 26 document filed with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission.

Lavazza said in the document it expected to further cut its 7.8 percent Keurig holding to no more than 5 percent.

Lavazza is bidding for L’Or and Grand Mere, two coffee brands put up for sale to ease a merger of Illinois-based Mondelez International’s (MDLZ.O) coffee business with Dutch rival D.E. Master Blenders 1753.

Mondelez is selling Grand Mere, while D.E. Master Blenders is selling L’Or.

Lavazza expects to complete the acquisition by the end of this year.

($1 = 0.8839 euros)

Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by David Holmes

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