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July 1, 2019

Pacific Equity Partners ‘prepares move for Campbell assets’

An Australian private-equity firm is said to have set up a new company to facilitate an acquisition of US food giant Campbell Soup Co.'s international business.

By Leonie Barrie

Australian private-equity firm Pacific Equity Partners is said to have set up a new company to facilitate an acquisition of US food giant Campbell Soup Co.’s international business.

The Australian Financial Review said Sydney-based Pacific Equity Partners is getting ready to bid for Campbell’s international brand portfolio, which consists of assets including Australia-based cookie brand Arnott’s and Denmark-based baked snacks unit Kelsen Group. The assets have been valued at between US$2bn and $3bn by sector analysts.

The publication said it understands Pacific Equity Partners has moved ahead of fellow investment firm KKR & Co, in the race to buy the division.

It said Pacific Equity Partners has set up a new Australian company dubbed Crimson, in what it suggests appears to be a nod to the Arnott’s logo that has been a company trademark for more than 100 years.

US snacks heavyweight Mondelez International had previously been linked with bidding for the asset but in June it was reported the two companies had failed to reach an agreement over the price for Campbell’s international business and that talks had ended.

Italian confectionery firm Ferrero and investment company Bain Capital were also linked with acquiring the division earlier this year.

The proposed sale follows a review of assets by Campbell. Earlier this year, Campbell completed the disposal of its fresh foods division, which had also been put on the market last year.

Bolthouse Farms was sold to US-based private-equity firm Butterfly Equity for $510m in April. In February the company sold its Garden Fresh Gourmet unit to an affiliate of Fountain of Health USA.

just-food asked Campbell for a response to this story but the company said it did not comment on rumour or speculation. We have also contacted Pacific Equity Partners, outside of Australian business hours.

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