Meantime, Campbell has also started to sell its Garden Fresh business, which it bought for $231 million in 2015, some of the people said. The soup company previously said it is selling fresh food brands including carrot and smoothie company Bolthouse Farms, which it bought for $1.55 billion for 2012. It is looking at selling the two separately to see if it can expedite that process, the people said.
The people requested anonymity because the information is confidential.
Thomas Hushen, a spokesperson for Campbell, said the company does not comment on rumors or speculation. Hushen said Campbell expects its global snacking business “will be attractive to many different types of buyers because of its strong brands and position in the market.”
Hushen added that the company is “focused on completing this transaction in a timely and disciplined manner that maximizes value.”
Mondelez, Ferrero and Kraft Heinz all declined to comment.
The sales come as Campbell looks to unwind efforts to broadly diversify beyond its iconic soup business and pay down the debt left behind from its $6.2 billion purchase of pretzel and chip company Snyder’s-Lance. The deal more than tripled Campbell’s debt burden.
The soup company is also under pressure from Third Point which, until Friday, had been trying to remove all of Campbell’s 12 directors. It is now only looking to replace five, implying it has been facing investor push-back. Late last month, Campbell delivered a significant blow to Third Point’s campaign with heirs to the founder that hold roughly 41 percent of the company’s shares supporting the soup company over Third Point.
Campbell’s interim CEO, Keith McLoughlin, said Campbell had proposed adding two of Third Point’s nominees to its board after the company’s annual meeting, Kurt Schmidt and Sarah Hofstetter, according to a statement released Friday. McLoughlin said Third Point rejected that option.
“We believe it is important for all of our shareholders to know that we are offering to add two new independent directors, Mr. Schmidt and Ms. Hofstetter, from the Third Point slate, as we continue to refresh our board,” McLoughlin said.
Third Point did not immediately have a comment regarding McLoughlin’s latest statement.