c.2013 New York Times News Service

c.2013 New York Times News Service

LONDON — Swiss food giant Nestlé is looking to sell its Jenny Craig brand, just seven years after spending $600 million to buy the weight-loss company from two private-equity firms, according to a person briefed on the matter.

The move follows remarks to analysts last week by Nestlé’s chief executive, Paul Bulcke, that the company planned to divest some of its underperforming businesses.

Nestlé declined to comment Wednesday.

Jenny Craig sells prepackaged food focused on portion control and tailors weight-loss programs for consumers, offering telephone and in-store consultations for a fee.

Nestlé acquired the business in 2006 after winning a long-running auction. It had been put up for sale by ACI Capital and MidOcean Partners, a spinoff of Deutsche Bank’s private equity business. The private-equity firms bought a majority interest in Jenny Craig from the company’s founder in 2002 for $115 million.

At the time, Nestlé said that it was looking to bulk up it Nestlé Nutrition unit, which includes its Gerber baby food business and its PowerBar energy-bar brand.

Reuters, which earlier Wednesday reported that Jenny Craig was on the block, said last month that Nestlé had put the PowerBar brand up for sale.

Nestlé has a large stable of brands, including KitKat chocolate bars, Häagen-Dazs ice cream, Nespresso coffee, Lean Cuisine frozen food and Purina dog and cat food. The company has begun to trim its offerings, selling Peters Ice Cream, an Australian brand, to a private-equity firm in June and the Carola and Val Saint-Lambert bottled water brands in France in July.

While not addressing any specific business lines, Bulcke said at the investor presentation Oct. 1 that there was a short list of business lines that the company plans to focus on fixing, but he also said that some lines could be sold.

“We are business people. We want to do business, not get rid of business,” Bulcke said. “But there are certain things that we don’t see that we can fix.”