August 1, 2018 / 10:15 AM / in 10 months

South Korea's CJ eyes U.S. food firm Schwan's in potential $1.8 billion deal: source

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean food giant CJ CheilJedang Corp (097950.KS) is among several bidders looking to buy U.S. frozen foods firm Schwan’s Company in a deal estimated at more than 2 trillion won ($1.79 billion), a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

Korea Economic Daily earlier reported that CJ CheilJedang, part of conglomerate CJ Group, is joining hands with local private equity firm JKL Partners, for the deal, to tap into the U.S. food market, citing investment banking sources.

“CJ CheilJedang is among several bidders who are interested in Schwan’s, but a preferred bidder has not been decided,” said the source who has direct knowledge of the deal, but declined to be named as he was not authorized to speak on the matter. The person declined to say whether CJ will bid alone or form a consortium.

A spokesperson for CJ CheilJedang declined to comment. Schwan’s Company was not immediately available for comment outside of U.S. business hours.

CNBC reported last year that privately-owned Schwan’s Company hired an investment bank to consider options for selling the company.

In early June, CJ CheilJedang said in a regulatory filing that it is “reviewing purchasing a U.S. processed food maker to better improve our competitiveness in our overseas food business.” But it did not say whether it was pursuing Schwan’s.

Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Manolo Serapio Jr.

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