Camp­bell to pay $700M for or­ganic firm

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM -

CAM­DEN, N.J. — Camp­bell Soup Co., strug­gling through a sales slump as con­sumers seek out more nat­u­ral prod­ucts, has agreed to buy a com­pany that makes or­ganic soup and broth for $700 mil­lion.

The deal to ac­quire Pa­cific Foods of Ore­gon will be fi­nanced with debt, Camp­bell said on Thurs­day. The Tualatin, Ore.-based maker of or­ganic foods gen­er­ated rev­enue of $218 mil­lion over the past year.

Camp­bell, the nearly 150-year-old com­pany known for canned goods, has strug­gled with chang­ing con­sumer tastes and is ex­pected to post de­clin­ing sales for a third con­sec­u­tive year. The Cam­den, N.J.-based com­pany has stum­bled with moves into car­rot farm­ing and pro­tein drink pro­duc­tion since its 2012 pur­chase of Bolt­house Farms.

The ac­qui­si­tion of Pa­cific Foods will give it more prod­ucts in a faster-grow­ing cat­e­gory, ac­cord­ing to Ken Shea, an an­a­lyst at Bloomberg In­tel­li­gence. “Or­ganic is def­i­nitely where the cus­tomer is go­ing,” he said.

Sales of canned soup, like those of other pack­aged-food prod­ucts that have dom­i­nated gro­cery stores for decades, are flag­ging amid broad shifts in how con­sumers eat and shop.

Camp­bell shares rose less than 1 per­cent to $51.83 in New York on Fri­day. The stock has slipped 15 per­cent this year through the close of trad­ing on Thurs­day.

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