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Nestle sells U.S. frozen pasta business to Brynwood Partners

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[January 07, 2014]  ZURICH (Reuters)  Nestle <NESN.VX> said it would sell its U.S.-based frozen pasta business, Joseph's Pasta, to private equity firm Brynwood Partners VII LP as part of a drive to clean up its portfolio.

"We can confirm the divestiture of Joseph's Pasta," a spokesman for the world's biggest food group said in an emailed statement on Monday without giving details of the transaction.

Headquartered in Haverhill, MA, Joseph's pasta employs more than 300 people.

Nestle, the maker of KitKat chocolate bars and Maggi soups, said in October it would dispose of underperforming businesses to slim down its sprawling portfolio which spans from bottled water to baby food.

The global food company with headquarters in Vevey on lake Geneva has since announced the disposal of the bulk of its Jenny Craig weight-loss business. It also sold a 10 percent stake in fragrance and flavor maker Givaudan <GIVN.VX> for over a billion Swiss francs.

Brynwood Partners said last month it had acquired the SnackWell's cookies and snacks business from Mondelez via its portfolio company Back to Nature Foods.

Nestle acquired Joseph's Pasta in 2006. It also bought Kraft Food's frozen pizza business in 2010.

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Frozen foods are a multibillion-dollar business for Nestle in the U.S. with its Stouffer's, Lean Cuisine and Hot Pockets brands. Nestle's total global sales of frozen and chilled foods amounted to 8.05 billion Swiss francs ($8.90 billion) in 2012.

($1 = 0.9042 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz, editing by David Evans)

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