Is L'Oreal worth it for Nestlé?


COULD there be a buying spree on the way at Nestl?

After Nestl sold its stake in US eye care firm Alcon to drug firm Novartis for $39 billion (19.6bn), traders turned their attention to what Nestl would do with its cash.

Some believed French cosmetics giant L'Oreal was at the top of Nestl's possible takeover list. Nestl, the world's second largest food company, along with the Bettencourt family, already holds a 30 per cent stake in L'Oreal, but neither is allowed to sell their stakes under an agreement that expires in April 2009.

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Nestl said it was open to making large acquisitions above its previous self-imposed annual limit of $2bn. Francois-Xavier Perroud, of Nestl, said: "If we believe an acquisition is strategically necessary, we will make it."

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