Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli is considering buying Campbell Soup Co.'s Godiva Chocolatier brand, its chief executive told the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper.
It is my duty towards the shareholders to analyze every potential acquisition, Chief Executive Ernst Tanner was quoted as saying in an interview published on Tuesday.
It is a question of whether an acquisition would bring Lindt closer to its aim of becoming an even bigger global producer of premium chocolate, he added.
We have to do this in the case of Godiva as well. Then we will make a decision, the CEO said.
Campbell said in August it was exploring alternatives for Godiva, including a sale, saying the premium chocolate business did not fit with its focus on simple meals.
Godiva, originally a Belgian chocolate-maker, could attract a price of more than $1 billion, analysts say. It has annual sales of about $500 million, while Lindt had 2006 sales of 2.6 billion Swiss francs ($2.15 billion).
Analysts question whether a deal would make sense since the two companies operate different business models.
We are not convinced the Godiva retail/outsourcing model would fit with Lindt's in-house production/mainly wholesale distribution business, said Kepler Equities analyst Jon Cox.
Registered shares in Lindt were trading 0.8 percent lower at 37,990 Swiss francs at 4:33 a.m. EDT. Participation certificates were 0.9 percent lower at 3,600 Swiss francs.