PBM seeks buyer, could fetch up to $1 billion: report

(Reuters) - PBM Products, a maker of private-label baby foods, is seeking to arrange for a buyout or partial sale of the company, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The Gordonsville, Virginia-based company could fetch a price of eight to ten times operating earnings, valuing it at as much as $1 billion, the paper cited people close to the situation as saying.

PBM's products include infant and toddler formulas, pediatric nutritionals, diabetic products and soy nutritional drinks. They are labeled under the store brands of retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc WMT.N, Target Corp TGT.N, Kroger Co KR.N, Loblaws and Walgreens WAG.N, its website showed.

Investment bank Jefferies & Co has been looking for a buyer for the business in recent months, the paper cited the people as saying.

Food manufacturers and private-equity funds have shown interest, the paper said. Specialty food maker Treehouse Foods Inc THS.N has looked closely at acquiring a PBM stake, the paper said, citing people familiar with the matter.

PBM, Jefferies and Treehouse could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside regular U.S. business hours.

Reporting by S. John Tilak in Bangalore; Editing by Rupert Winchester