International food and beverage conglomerate Nestlé SA has reached an agreement to sell its regional spring water brands, purified water business and beverage delivery service in the United States and Canada, a move that will affect its West Michigan operations.
Nestlé’s Ice Mountain Spring Water pumps water from a well near Evart, is bottled at a Stanwood facility, employs 280 people and will be included in the portfolio of brands in the deal. The sale also includes Nestlé’s direct-to-consumer and office beverage delivery service called ReadyFresh.
Nestlé announced that it will be selling the assets for $4.3 billion to New York-based private equity firm One Rock Capital Partners. One Rock is partnering on the purchase with investment firm Metropoulos & Co., which is led by billionaire and former Pabst Brewing Co. owner Charles Metropoulous.
Over the summer of 2020, Nestlé began to explore the idea of selling off its North American bottled water business, citing a new corporate direction that focused on high-end international brands like San Pellegrino and Perrier as well as a variety of functional waters.
At the time, names like Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo. were pegged as potential suitors.
“We continue to transform our global waters business to best position it for long-term profitable growth,” Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider said in a statement. “This sale enables us to create a more focused business around our international premium brands, local natural mineral waters and high-quality healthy hydration products. We will also boost our innovation and business development efforts to capture emerging consumer trends, such as functional water.”
Additionally, Nestlé has long been at odds with some Michigan residents and environmental groups since applying for a permit in 2018 that nearly doubled the amount of groundwater the company extracted from a well near Evart for the Ice Mountain brand, as MiBiz previously reported.