Bright Food nears to acquiring GNC

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Bright Food Group Co is reportedly close to a deal to buy the US vitamin retailer, GNC Holdings Inc.[China Daily]

Bright Food Group, Shanghai's biggest food and dairy company, is reportedly close to a deal to buy United States vitamin retailer GNC Holdings Inc for between US$2.5 billion and US$3 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the newspaper said that the potential deal to buy GNC from Ares Management and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board could be announced in the next few days.

But the newspaper also said that the deal could still fall through. Officials from Bright Food declined to comment yesterday.

GNC sells nutrition supplements, vitamins, sports drinks and other diet products through 7,100 stores worldwide. Ares Management and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan bought GNC in 2007 from Apollo Management LP in a deal worth US$1.65 billion.

Bright Food partnered GNC in February to sell GNC nutrient products in China to tap increasing demand from Chinese consumers.

Bright Food has been active in venturing abroad this year under a strategy of sniffing out merger and acquisition opportunities over the next three years. The government-backed group has laid its eyes on buying assets including sugar, dairy, winery and wholesale business.

But the M&A road has not been quite smooth for Bright Food as it lost to Singapore's Wilmar in a bid to buy Australia's largest sugar refinery, a division of CSR Ltd, in late January.

Bright Food's exclusive talks to buy UK's United Biscuits in September also reportedly sank.

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