Campbell Soup announced on Friday that it would be selling Bolthouse Firms as the business has struggled in recent years.
The company originally acquired Bolthouse in 2012 for roughly $1.55 billion as part of its plan to add healthier food items to its portfolio. Now, the business will sell the brand to an affiliate of private equity firm Butterfly Equity for only $510 million.
The move is part a broader effort by Campbell designed to reduce debt, and it will likely be followed by other sales to achieve this very goal. The deal is slated to be completed in July 2019, which means that Campbell’s entire fresh division will be gone–the company agreed to sell salsa maker Garden Fresh Gourmet in February.
Butterfly said operating partner Jeff Dunn will be the new CEO of Bolthouse Farms, a company he spearheaded as president and CEO between 2008 and 2015. The brand’s struggles can be attributed to some farming missteps, as well as a recall of 3.8 million bottles of protein shakes due to a potential spoilage.
Bolthouse Farms — as well as Campbell’s international business — has been on the market since August 2018 as investors pressured the company to sell to bolster profitability and stock performance. “The sale of Bolthouse Farms supports our strategy to focus on our two core North American businesses, Campbell Snacks and Campbell Meals and Beverages,” CEO Mark Clouse said.
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