CAMDEN, N.J. — Campbell Soup Company has agreed to buy 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 is a vertically integrated food and beverage company focused on developing, manufacturing and marketing proprietary, high value-added natural, healthy products. The company has leading market positions in fresh carrots and super-premium beverages in the United States, along with a growing presence in refrigerated salad dressings, according to a press release on the agreement.
According to Campbell, the acquisition of Bolthouse will provide the company with significant presence and a new platform for expansion in the rapidly growing, $12-billion market for packaged fresh foods. The addition of Bolthouse’s market-leading super-premium refrigerated beverages will complement Campbell’s successful “V8” beverage business and will create one of the industry’s largest healthy beverage platforms, with annual sales of approximately $1.2 billion. Bolthouse’s strong market position in fresh carrots in the United States and Canada will also provide an attractive opportunity for growth with value-added products in healthy snacking, the company said.
Denise Morrison, Campbell’s president and CEO, said, “Bolthouse is a great strategic fit with Campbell. 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.”
Headquartered in Bakersfield, Calif., Bolthouse Farms has nearly 100 years of farming expertise and innovation. It markets and sells its beverages and dressings under the “Bolthouse Farms” brand, and its carrots under the “Bolthouse Farms,” “Earthbound Farms” and “Green Giant” brands, as well as private label offerings. 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. Dunn has built a strong team with deep expertise in beverage and consumer packaged goods, and he will report directly to Morrison.