Swiss food group Nestle (NESN.S) has agreed to sell its U.S. confectionery business to Italy’s Ferrero for $2.8 billion, it said on Tuesday, marking CEO Mark Schneider’s first big sale and a small step on its path towards healthier products.

Nestle, the world’s biggest packaged-food company, has cited the unit’s weak position in the United States, where it trails Hershey (HSY.N), Mars Inc and Lindt, as the rationale for a sale.

For family-owned Ferrero, the cash deal offers a chance for the Italian company to build scale quickly in that key market, where it has done two other deals in the past year.

The maker of Nutella spread and Ferrero Rocher pralines will become the third-largest chocolate company in the U.S. and globally, according to Euromonitor International.

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