UK multinational consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB) has agreed to sell its food business unit to McCormick & Company (McCormick) for $4.2bn on a cash-free, debt-free basis.

The decision to sell RB Food or French’s Food, including the French’s, Frank’s RedHot and Cattlemen’s brands, was taken by the company following a comprehensive strategic review.

RB intends to use the cash amount to reduce its debt.

Reckitt Benckiser chief executive officer Rakesh Kapoor said: “Our French’s Food business is a true reflection of RB’s strengths, a portfolio of great brands driven by a culture of innovation by passionate people to deliver consistent outperformance.

"This transaction marks another step towards transforming RB into a global leader in consumer health and hygiene."

“We are pleased to be selling to owners who can provide the necessary resources, market expertise and global platform while being a good home for our people.

“French’s Food is well-positioned to continue on its successful growth trajectory under the food-focused ownership of McCormick.

“Following the acquisition of Mead Johnson Nutrition, this transaction marks another step towards transforming RB into a global leader in consumer health and hygiene, ensuring we continue to deliver for shareholders and give people innovative solutions for healthier lives and happier homes.”

According to the deal, McCormick will retain the brand names of French’s, Frank’s RedHot and Cattlemen’s.

The completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and expected to be completed by the third quarter of this year, as well as the consideration is subject to customary working capital adjustments at closing.