On the Street -- Campbell Buys Ecce Panis

April 16/Mergers & Acquisitions Business -- Campbell Soup Company entered into an agreement to acquire artisan bread maker Ecce Panis Inc. Campbell plans to run the business as part of its Pepperidge Farm bakery operations.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to be completed later this spring. Campbell anticipates that the acquisition will not have a material impact on fiscal 2009 earnings and will be slightly accretive to earnings in fiscal 2010.

Douglas R. Conant, Campbell's president and chief executive officer, said, "The acquisition of Ecce Panis is consistent with our strategy to drive growth in our core categories through strategic acquisitions and outside partnerships. Artisan bread represents one of the fastest-growing segments of the bakery category, and I am confident that we can leverage our sales and marketing capabilities to expand the availability of Ecce Panis products and complement our existing bakery business."

Founded in 1988 as a small Manhattan bakery, Ecce Panis has a premium portfolio of handcrafted, stone-baked artisan breads that are sold primarily through the in-store bakeries of leading retailers and grocery chains across the country. The par-baked frozen breads and rolls are shipped to customers where the baking process is finished within their in-store bakeries.

The company has 115 employees and a 113,000-square-foot state-of-the-art bakery in East Brunswick, N.J.

"Ecce Panis products are a great fit within the Pepperidge Farm portfolio and will help create new growth opportunities for our business," said Pat Callaghan, president, Pepperidge Farm. "Ecce Panis is a well-run and profitable company with a strong management team, innovative baking facilities and products that are part of a large and growing market. We are excited to bring these great products to more people and expand our artisan offerings."

From the April 27, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition