By Dow Jones Business News, October 01, 2013, 09:25:00 AM EDT
Campbell Soup Co. ( CPB ) agreed to sell its European simple-meals business to private-equity firm CVC Capital Partners
for 400 million euros ($542.2 million), allowing the food company to continue reshaping its portfolio.
Campbell in August said it was in final and exclusive negotiations with CVC to make the sale.
The private-equity firm will acquire Campbell's national brands of soups, sauces and simple meals, including Liebig
and Royco in France, Erasco in Germany, Bla Band in Sweden and Devos Lemmens and Royco in Belgium. The deal also
includes four plants in Puurs, Belgium; Le Pontet, France; Lubeck, Germany; and Karpalund, Sweden. In fiscal 2013, those
businesses generated sales of about $530 million.
Campbell, which expects the deal to close in the calendar fourth quarter, intends to use the proceeds to pay down debt
and for other general corporate needs.
The agreement doesn't include Campbell's recently-acquired Kelsen Group, which will continue its operations in
Denmark. Campbell will continue to export Pepperidge Farm products throughout Europe and Campbell's products in the U.K.
and the Middle East and Africa, the company said.
Campbell Soup has worked to turn around its soup and simple-meals operations while looking to expand its healthy
beverages and baked-snacks businesses. The strategy has helped Campbell boost revenue recently.
The company has also made acquisitions as it has sought to grow beyond its soup business. In June, the company
completed the acquisition of Plum Organics, which makes organic baby food, and it agreed to buy Kelsen, a Danish cookie
maker with a strong position in China.
In August, Campbell said it swung to a loss in its fiscal fourth quarter after it posted a write-down tied to the
European simple meals businesses.
Shares closed Monday at $40.71 and were inactive premarket. The stock is up 17% so far this year.
Write to Ben Fox Rubin at firstname.lastname@example.org
(CORRECTION: This item was corrected to fix the month the company said it was in final and exclusive negotiations
with CVC. The negotiations were announced in August, not Apri..
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