Nestlé SA has agreed to pay at least $9 billion to Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), the world's largest research-based pharmaceutical company, for the U.S. company's infant nutrition business, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The Vevey, Switzerland-based food giant apparently beat out Groupe Danone and Mead Johnson Nutrition, which had contemplated a joint bid for the assets, in an auction, the newspaper said.

An announcement of the agreement could come as early as next week, sources familiar with the matter said.

Madison, N.J.-based Pfizer Nutrition, formerly Wyeth Nutrition, makes products for babies and young children as well as pregnant and nursing mothers. The products are sold in 60 countries and manufactured in China, Ireland, Mexico, the Philippines, and Singapore. 

Shares of Mead Johnson Nutrition (NYSE: MJN) fell 65 cents to $83.61 in after-hours trading.