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Poland Spring Water Brand Has A New Owner

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) — Global food giant Nestle said Wednesday that it has completed the $4.3 billion sale of its bottled-water brands in North America, including Poland Spring, to a pair of private-equity firms.

One Rock Capital Partners, in partnership with Metropoulos & Co., assumed ownership of brands including Poland Spring, Deer Park, Arrowhead, Ozarka, Zephyrhills and Pure Life.

In February, The Bangor Daily News reported that water-rights activists in Maine protested the potential sale. They worried that the private equity companies won't pay attention to local concerns.

"It is a huge deal," Nickie Sekera, the co-founder of Community Water Justice, told the newspaper. "Nestle is at least a little bit more responsive to negative press. . . I think a private-equity firm is going to be even less responsive to the concerns of Maine people."

Nestle employs about 850 workers in Maine. Poland Spring water is sourced from nine springs in the state.

Dean Metropoulos, who led turnarounds at Hostess Brands and Pabst Brewing Co., will serve as chairman and interim CEO of the new company.

The new company hopes to reinvigorate bottled water sales in the U.S., where sales growth has slowed even though the sector has seen growth every year since the 2009 recession.

Nestle's North American water business had 27 production facilities and more than 7,000 employees.

The Swiss-based company said it intends to sharpen its focus on its international premium water brands, including Perrier, S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, which were not included in the deal.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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