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VEVEY, Switzerland - Swiss food and beverages giant Nestle SA today expressed interest in taking full control of the Haagen-Dazs ice cream business by buying the 50 percent stake owned by its partner in the venture, Pillsbury Co., the Associated Press reported.
The deal could strengthen Nestle's position against rival Unilever in the U.S. ice cream market.
Analysts have estimated a deal could be worth $650 million, according to the AP. Perroud declined to comment on the cost or timing of the deal.
Nestle and Pillsbury currently own Haagen-Dazs through their 1999 joint venture Ice Cream Partners, but Nestle has an option to buy the entire operation should Pillsbury's ownership change, Perroud said.