MILAN Nutella maker Ferrero has signed a deal to buy U.S. confectioner Fannie May from online retailer 1-800-FLOWERS.COM (FLWS.O) for $115 million (93.82 million pounds) in a move to strengthen the Italian company's presence in the overseas market, they said in a joint statement.
Fannie May, founded in Chicago in 1920, makes chocolate bars, praline and chocolate snacks that are sold mainly through 1-800-FLOWERS.COM.
"The United States represents an important market with a high growth potential for Ferrero and we are excited to support the development of a great American brand," Ferrero Chief Executive Giovanni Ferrero said in a statement on Thursday.
The United States is the fifth-biggest market for the Italian group, whose total revenue was 10 billion euros ($10.7 billion) in the financial year ended in August.
As part of the deal, Ferrero said it would sign a commercial partnership with 1-800-FLOWERS.COM to offer some of its and Fannie May's products on the online platform.
($1 = 0.9318 euros)
(Reporting by Francesca Landini and Giancarlo Navach; editing by Susan Thomas)