TOKYO -- Japan's Ajinomoto has offered to buy Wild Flavors for about 300 billion yen ($2.93 billion), joining the Western players vying to take over the Swiss producer of food colors and flavors.
Ajinomoto has already conveyed its intention to Wild Flavors, which is expected to pick a suitor as early as this week. Should it go through, this would be the biggest acquisition by the Japanese seasonings maker.
Established in Germany in 1931, Wild Flavors maintains a powerful presence in the market for beverage-use colors. It generated sales of roughly 120 billion yen in 2012. The founding family owns 65% of the company, with a U.S. fund holding the rest.
Ajinomoto has local units in 26 countries and regions, marketing food seasonings and other products. It hopes to raise the food business's overseas sales by 30% to 379.3 billion yen in fiscal 2016, up 30% from last fiscal year.
With consumer tastes and distribution systems varying from market to market, expanding abroad alone is difficult. Ajinomoto seeks to achieve synergies rapidly through the acquisition.