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Nestle SA agreed to buy vitamin maker Bountiful Co. for $5.75 billion, becoming a world leader in the field of minerals and supplements as the pandemic boosts demand for pills for health-conscious consumers.

Nestle Health Science Chief Executive Officer Greg Behar said the purchase — from private equity firms KKR & Co. and Carlyle — should double e-commerce revenue from supplements to about $1 billion this year.

Chief Executive Officer Mark Schneider dove into the field of vitamins and supplements in his first year as CEO in 2017 with the $2.3 billion acquisition of Atrium Innovations Inc.

He has focused on developing larger brands in the competitive, fragmented segment, seeing a market in high-spending health-conscious consumers.

Patrik Schwendimann, an analyst at Zuercher Kantonalbank, wrote that the bolt-on acquisition fits well with Nestle’s strategy to further expand in the highly attractive and globally growing category of specialized nutrition.

“The price, equal to 16.8 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, seems fair,” said Patrik Schwendimann.

About 91% of people taking supplements have increased consumption during the pandemic to boost their immune system, Behar said. Nestle Health Science’s revenue rose almost 10% in the first quarter on an adjusted basis.

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