Heinz sells Weight Watchers

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HJ HEINZ, the US-based food giant, yesterday agreed to sell its Weight Watchers weight control business for $735m to Artal Luxembourg, a European private investment firm.

Heinz said it would retain its ownership of Weight Watchers line of foods, and would use $14m from the sale to retain a 6 per cent interest in the weight control business. Heinz added that the weight control business did not fit in with its long-term food growth strategy to refocus on its foods, including its line of ketchup, condiments and sauces, which had sales of $2bn in 1999 and were 25 per cent of Heinz's total revenues.