London - The maker of Oreo cookies is separating its European cheese and grocery business in a move that may lead to a sale or spinoff, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The creation by Mondelez International Inc. of a stand-alone unit with about $1.4 billion in sales comes as the company jettisons coffee and focuses on faster-growing snack brands amid pressure from activist investors Ralph Whitworth and Nelson Peltz. The strategy may pave the way for an exit from the cheese and grocery business, said a person with knowledge of Mondelez's deliberations, who asked not to be identified as the plans are private.
Detaching cheese and grocery operations in Europe comes two months after Mondelez agreed to split off its coffee unit to form a new entity, along with D.E Master Blenders 1753 BV, to be called Jacobs Douwe Egberts. Mondelez generated 3.9 percent of its $35.3 billion in revenue last year from European cheese and grocery, according to its annual report.