Campbell to Acquire Bolthouse Farms

Campbell Soup Co., Camden, N.J., on July 9 announced an agreement to acquire Bolthouse Farms from a fund managed by Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, a private equity firm, for $1.55 billion in cash.

Founded in 1915, Bolthouse, headquartered in Bakersfield, Calif., is a vertically integrated food & beverage company. It has both fresh produce, primarily carrots, and vegetable-based premium beverages, as well as a growing presence in refrigerated salad dressings.

The acquisition will give Campbell a new platform in packaged fresh foods, as well as beverages complementary to Campbell’s V8 beverage business. It should provide Campbell with healthy beverage sales of approximately $1.2 billion annually.

“Bolthouse is a great strategic fit with Campbell,” said Denise Morrison, Campbell’s president/CEO. “Its business platforms, capabilities and culture are well aligned with the core growth strategies we announced last year. Its strong position in the high-growth packaged fresh category complements our chilled soup business in North America, and offers exciting opportunities for expansion into adjacent packaged fresh segments that respond directly to powerful consumer trends.”

For its fiscal year ended March 31, Bolthouse had sales of $689 million and adjusted EBIT of $92 million. From 2010 through 2012, the company had compound annual net sales growth of 7 percent. It employs about 2,100 people.

Campbell plans to operate Bolthouse Farms as a separate business unit. Members of Bolthouse’s senior management team, including President and CEO Jeff Dunn, will remain with the company, reporting directly to Morrison.

Closing of the acquisition is expected in late summer.

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