Campbell Soup Co. is in talks to sell its fresh foods business to a group of investors led by former Bolthouse Farms CEO Jeff Dunn, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Bolthouse Farms, which grows carrots and also markets dressings and juices, was purchased by Campbell six years ago. In August, Campbell announced plans to sell its fresh division, including Bolthouse Farms and hummus, dip and salsa company Garden Fresh Gourmet.
Regarding the Wall Street Journal report, associate director of communications Tom Hushen said Campbell does not comment on rumors or speculation.
In a letter to shareholders Oct. 4, the company reiterated its intent to sell its international and fresh foods businesses.
“These are great brands and solid businesses, but they do not fit with Campbell’s new strategic direction,” the company wrote in the letter. “We believe they will be of greater value to new owners who are focused on these categories and geographies.
“The proposed divestitures represented approximately $2.1 billion in net sales in fiscal year 2018,” the company wrote. “We have engaged leading financial advisers and have initiated a disciplined process aimed at achieving maximum value. We intend to use the proceeds from these divestitures to significantly reduce debt ... ”
Along with Bolthouse Farms and Garden Fresh Gourmet, the fresh foods division also includes Campbell’s refrigerated soup business.
“Campbell Fresh consists of great brands, and we expect a number of potential buyers to be interested,” Hushen said.