March 16, 2017 / 5:28 PM / 3 years ago

Nutella maker Ferrero buys U.S. confectioner Fannie May

Jars of Nutella chocolate-hazelnut paste are displayed in a supermarket in Nice, France, March 16, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

MILAN (Reuters) - 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

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