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By DEE-ANN DURBIN | AP Business Writer

Candy and snack company Mondelez International said Monday it’s selling its U.S., Canadian and European gum business to Perfetti Van Melle Group for $1.35 billion.

Chicago-based Mondelez said the deal includes its Trident, Bubblicious, Dentyne and Chiclets gum brands and the European candy brands Cachou Lajaunie and La Vosgienne. Perfetti __ a privately owned company which makes Mentos mints and Chupa Chups lollipops, among other products __ will also acquire Mondelez manufacturing facilities in Rockford, Illinois, and Skarbimierz, Poland.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Mondelez said it will continue to make gum in other regions, including Latin America and Asia. But the sale brings it closer to its goal of shifting more resources to its chocolate, biscuit and baked snack brands, where the company sees significant growth opportunities. Mondelez owns the Cadbury and Toblerone chocolate brands as well as Oreo and Chips Ahoy cookies, Triscuit crackers and Perfect Snacks nutrition bars.

Mondelez makes about 80% of its revenue from chocolate and biscuits today; it wants to raise that to 90% by 2030.

U.S. gum and mint sales grew 3.8% in 2021, according to the National Confectioners Association. But that growth was surpassed by chocolate sales, which rose 9.2%, and non-chocolate candy sales, which were up 14.5%.

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