MONTREAL — European packaged goods giant Nestle says it will acquire Quebec-based vitamin maker Atrium Innovations for US$2.3 billion.Nestle says the purchase of the privately-held company will support growth in its consumer health-care business.The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018, subject to customary approvals.Established in 1999, Atrium’s 2017 sales are expected to reach almost US$700 million. Its largest brand is Garden of Life, which is sold in more than 14,000 health food stores and online in the U.S.Atrium and its 1,400 employees will become part of Nestle Health Science, a division of the world’s largest food and beverage company. Its existing management team will remain in place, headed by president and CEO Peter Luther.Nestle Health Science CEO Greg Behar says the Atrium brands will extend its range of products by adding probiotics, plant-based protein nutrition, meal replacements and an extensive multivitamin line that is part of a fast-growing consumer trend.
INDIANAPOLIS — Denzel Ward had a decision to make.As a highly regarded NFL prospect who might slot among the top 10 picks of the 2018 NFL Draft, he had to make a choice of whether to play in the Cotton Bowl against USC on Dec. 29. He went back and forth, but ultimately chose to sit out and focus on improving his draft stock.However, had the Buckeyes’ made the College Football Playoff rather than end up outside the top-four teams, he would have played. When asked at the NFL combine Sunday whether he would have suited up in scarlet and gray for either the Sugar Bowl or the Rose Bowl, he had a simple answer: “Yes sir.”Former Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward (12) on the sidelines during the Buckeyes’ Cotton Bowl victory against USC on Dec. 29, 2017. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorWard said he did not tell the coaches he would not be playing on the final day, but it was a late, difficult decision. He said he ultimately sat out the bowl game to “not risk injury.”“It’s not that I didn’t want to play the game,” Ward said. “I wanted to play. It was hard. I’m glad I got the win, though.”He said NFL teams have asked him about the decision, but does not believe teams have held the decision against him.“They just want to hear my thoughts of why I did sit out the bowl game,” Ward said.Though Ward did not play in the bowl game as a junior, he practiced the entire week. He said he practiced to help the younger corners, such as then-freshman Jeffrey Okudah who played the most snaps of his career against the Trojans.Ward played three seasons and had a combined 67 tackles, 24 pass deflections and two interceptions. As a junior, he was named a first-team All-American. Ward has a chance to become the fourth Ohio State cornerback selected in the first round, following in the footsteps of Eli Apple, Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley.