Nestlé has acquired US baby food brand Gerber from Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis for $5.5bn (£2.78bn).

Nestlé has been linked to the Gerber brand for a number of months. The deal will make the group the leader in the US baby food market, the company said.

“The acquisition of Gerber is the perfect complementary fit,” said Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman and CEO of Nestlé. “This is a major step in the transformational journey of Nestlé toward a Nutrition, Health and Wellness Company.”