Campbell to sell part of fresh food unit for about $500 mln to former executive - WSJ

FILE PHOTO: A worker restocks Campbell’s soup cans inside a Fresh & Easy store in Burbank, California October 19, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

(This April 11 story has been refilled to add dropped word ‘part of’ in headline)

(Reuters) – Campbell Soup Co is nearing a deal to sell its fresh food unit’s Bolthouse Farms for about $500 million to a group led by the former chief executive officer of the brand, the Wall Street Journal reported here on Thursday.

Former Bolthouse Chief Executive Officer Jeff Dunn, who was leading the group of investors, is working with private-equity firm Butterfly Equity and has entered into exclusive talks with the U.S. food company for Campbell’s fresh food unit, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The Journal in a previous version of the report said that Campbell was nearing a deal to sell its fresh food unit, including Bolthouse Farms.

Campbell had bought the Bolthouse unit for $1.55 billion in 2012.

The two sides could announce a deal as early as Friday, but a deal is not guaranteed as the board has not signed off on it, the report added.

A Campbell spokesman declined to comment.

The company’s international unit, along with its fresh food business, has been up for sale since August after Campbell was pressured by investors to boost its profitability and stock performance.

Earlier this year, Campbell said it expects to name buyers for Bolthouse Farms and its international business by the end of fiscal 2019. The company also said it would sell salsa maker Garden Fresh Gourmet to a unit of Fountain of Health USA, which makes hummus, dips and prepared salads.

Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel

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