NEW YORK (AP) – Swiss food and drink giant Nestle is selling its U.S. candy business to Italy’s Ferrero for about $2.9 billion in cash. Ferrero will take over iconic chocolate brands Butterfinger and Crunch bars, as well as the sugary Nerds, SweeTarts and FunDip.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – FEBRUARY 18: Nestle Butterfinger candy bars are displayed on a shelf at a convenience store on February 18, 2015 in San Francisco, California. Nestle USA announced plans to remove all artificial flavors and FDA-certified colors from its entire line of chocolate candy products, including the popular Butterfinger and Baby Ruth candy bars, by the end of 2015. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

After a review of its portfolio last summer, Nestle hinted that it might sell its U.S. business, with its eye on higher-growth areas like pet care, coffee and infant nutrition.

In September, Nestle announced that it bought a majority stake in Blue Bottle Coffee, a high-end coffee company. Other Nestle brands include Purina, Gerber and Stouffer’s.

Nestle, based in Switzerland, says its U.S. candy business accounts for about 3 percent of its U.S. division’s sales.

The deal is expected to close at the end of the first quarter.

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