Unilever seeks buyers for Ragu pasta sauce business

Unilever Plc has put its Ragu pasta sauce business on the block, which may fetch the consumer goods giant around $2 billion. Bloomberg yesterday reported, citing unnamed sources.

Ragu pasta The London-based company has hired Morgan Stanley to help with the sale, the report said.

Ragú, which was introduced into the market in 1937 by New York-based Giovanni Cantisano and his wife Assunta, is the best selling US brand of pasta sauce.

Ragú was acquired by the Lipton and Bestfoods companies before merging with the Unilever portfolio in 1987.

The Anglo-Dutch company does not give annual sales for individual brands, but analysts estimate that Ragu generates sales of around $550 million a year.

In June 2012, Unilever said it would restructure its business by selling some of its brands and businesses that is not core to its portfolio.

It later sold its PF Chang's and Bertolli frozen meals businesses to ConAgra Foods for $265 million, its global Skippy peanut butter brand in the US and Canada to Hormel Foods for $700 million, and its Wish-Bone salad dressings business to US packaged foods company Pinnacle Foods for $580 million.