Procter & Gamble has exited the food business after selling its Pringles crisp brand.

Diamond Foods, the US snacks group that owns Kettle Chips, has bought the brand in a deal worth $2.35bn (£1.44bn).

Its acquisition, which includes taking on $850m of debt, makes Diamond the second-largest crisp maker in the world behind Walkers owner PepsiCo.

Buying Pringles – just over a year since it snapped up Kettle Foods – trebles the size of Diamond’s snacks business.

“This is going to drastically increase our scale,” said Diamond chief executive Michael Mendes.

“It augments our access to the developing world and we believe the product is tailor-made to the international markets, where we're looking to build a platform.”

Pringles is the world’s biggest crisp brand and last year generated UK sales of £156.8m to place 35th in Britain's 100 Biggest Brands. The UK is its second-largest market after the US.

For P&G, the sale completes a withdrawal from food and drink that saw it shed brands including Sunny Delight juice and Jif peanut butter to concentrate on its personal care business.

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P&G makes Pringles flavours just for Tesco (29 May 2010)
Kettle Chips maker sold to US group Diamond (26 February 2010)
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