On August 12, 2013, Campbell announced it was in final and exclusive negotiations for the potential sale of its European simple meals business to CVC. Following the completion of information and consultation procedures conducted with its European and local works councils in accordance with applicable laws, Campbell has entered into a binding share purchase agreement with CVC.
Under the terms of the agreement, CVC will acquire Campbell’s national brands of soups, sauces and simple meals, including Liebig and Royco in France, Erasco in Germany, Blå Band in Sweden and Devos Lemmens and Royco in Belgium, for a purchase price of 400 million euros. The transaction also includes four plants in Puurs, Belgium; Le Pontet, France; Lubeck, Germany; and Karpalund, Sweden. Campbell intends to use the proceeds of the sale to pay down debt and for other general corporate purposes.
The agreement does not include Campbell’s recently acquired Kelsen Group, which will continue its operations in Denmark and the export of its products to countries in Europe and throughout the world. Campbell will continue to export Pepperidge Farm products throughout Europe and Campbell’s products in the UK and the Middle East and Africa.
Denise Morrison, Campbell’s president and chief executive officer, said, “This sale reflects a strategic choice. We are in the process of reshaping our portfolio to change Campbell’s future growth trajectory. As part of this effort, we will be focusing our investments, resources and talent on building the brands that we believe we can grow around the world, strengthening our core and expanding our business in faster-growing geographies and categories.”
In fiscal 2013, the Campbell businesses included in the proposed transaction generated annual net sales of approximately $530 million.
The transaction is subject to clearance by the relevant European competition law authorities. Campbell anticipates that the transaction will be completed in the fourth quarter of calendar 2013.