Nutella- and Tic Tac-maker Ferrero Group, a global confectionery conglomerate, entered into a definitive agreement on 16 January to purchase Nestle’s US confectionery business for US$2.8bn.

The acquisition, expected to close towards the end of the first quarter of 2018, would see Ferrero take control of many iconic American snack brands, including Butterfinger candy bars and Wonka chocolate product, alongside sugar brands such as SweeTarts and Nerds, Ferrero said in a statement.

Ferrero would acquire Nestle’s three Illinois manufacturing facilities in Bloomington, Franklin Park and Itasca and said it would continue operating through the offices in Glendale, California, alongside its current offices in Illinois and New Jersey.

The acquisition was part of an ongoing trend in the snacks and confectionery business that had seen companies diversify their product portfolios in the wake of falling sales of sugary products, wrote Eater on 16 January.

Nestle, for example, had begun investing in independent coffee brands, acquiring a majority stake in Blue Bottle, a San Francisco Bay Area-based coffee producer, and Austin-headquartered Chameleon Cold Brew.

Nestle’s rival Hershey had also bought the SkinnyPop popcorn brand for US$900M, while Coca-Cola, faced with falling sales in the soda industry, had acquired Topo Chico mineral water, Eater wrote.

Ferrero is best known in the oils and fats sector as the producer of Nutella, using around 160,000 tonnes/year of palm oil to produce the hazelnut spread.