The sale of Nestlé Water North America to One Rock Capital Partners, LLC, in partnership with Metropoulos & Co., was confirmed Feb. 16 by both companies.

Nestlé is currently in negotiations with Chaffee County to renew their 1041 permit, allowing them to remove water from the Ruby Mountain location, for bottling in Denver.

One Rock said in a press release “Subject to customary closing conditions, the transaction is expected to be completed in the spring, at which time Dean Metropoulos will become the Company’s Chairman and interim Chief Executive Officer.”

The county has not had contact with Nestlé or One Rock since the announcement was made.

In a press release Thursday, Jennifer Davis, county attorney, said, “At this time, we anticipate the process for Nestlé’s 1041 permit application review will continue. The County will share updates through the public process as we learn more from Nestlé and better understand what impacts the proposed purchase of their company may have on the permit review.”

Commissioners spoke with Larry Lawrence, Nestlé Waters North America regional manager for the western region, during their Feb. 16 meeting about the possibility of a sale, and Lawrence said as far as he knew about the sale, “It’s business as usual.”

Commissioner Greg Felt said that in some ways, this was fortunate for the county, as they never knew the identity of the possible purchaser.

“This makes for a lot less speculation,” Felt said Monday. “We hope to learn more from Nestlé during our March 16 meeting.”

Unbottle and Protect Chaffee County, who has spoken out against the renewal of the 1041 permit for Nestlé, stated in a press release they were against the sale.

They released a joint statement, along with organizations from Maine, Florida, California and Michigan and Ontario, Canada, who also oppose Nestlé.

“Nestlé’s motivation is clear: to shed itself of its responsibility for the plastic pollution and environmental degradation its water extraction and bottling has caused and the damage these scandals have done to their brand and bottom line.

“It is also clear that a private equity firm, freed of Nestlé’s reputational responsibilities, will seek to cut expenses at the cost of the limited promises its predecessor made regarding environmental sustainability and community benefit.

“We call on elected leaders, regulators, advocacy groups and the media in Canada and the U.S. to ‘follow the money’ and expose this deal to the highest levels of public scrutiny.”

Unbottle and Protect Chaffee County continued to encourage the commissioners to deny the 1041 permit.

“Nestle has not proven to be a good neighbor, and the only thing worse than Nestlé, is Nestlé operating undercover,” said Unbottle and Protect Chaffee County Water co-founder, Jennifer Swacina. “Our commissioners can, at their discretion, simply vote to deny this permit extension. They have all the ammunition they need.”

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