AUSTIN, Minn., Jan. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. food processor Hormel Foods Corp. said Thursday it had agreed to buy Skippy peanut butter brand for $700 million from Unilever United States Inc.
The purchase includes a product line of 11 shelf-stable peanut butter products, including the peanut spread that "holds the No. 2 share" of a growing market, Hormel said in a statement.
"Peanut butter is a $2 billion category with a 74 percent household penetration," Hormel said, adding it was the second most popular sandwich in the United States "behind ham."
Skippy is considered an "iconic" brand. Widely recognizable, it began in 1932 and has annual sales of "approximately $370 million with nearly $100 million of those sales outside the United States." It is sold in 30 countries and is the leading brand in China, Hormel said.
"The fast growing international line will ... strengthen our global presence, and should be a useful complement to our sales strategy in China," said Hormel Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Ettinger.
The purchase is subject to regulatory approval, the company said.