Ferrero ‘close’ to finalizing deal to acquire Campbell’s international biscuits and snacks segment

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Campbell Soup Company's international business inncludes Australian biscuit brand Arnott's. Pic: Arnott's
Campbell Soup Company's international business inncludes Australian biscuit brand Arnott's. Pic: Arnott's

Related tags Campbell soup company Ferrero Arnott's biscuits holdings Kelsen Group Rothschild Third Point

Italian news daily Il Sole 24 Ore broke the news that the Nutella maker is in talks with Campbell Soup Company to buy Campbell’s international business, which includes Arnott’s biscuits and Danish butter cookie maker Kelsen.

The value of the deal could be about $2bn, according to Sole, which said the Italian confectionery giant is being advised by investment bank Rothschild.

While Ferrero declined to comment and a Campbell spokesman said the company does not comment on rumors and speculation, Reuters reported two sources close to the matter had confirmed the talks.

In August, Campbell Soup announced a plan to divest two of its businesses - its refrigerated-foods business and its international operations.

The deal includes Australian biscuit brand Arnott’s and the Kelsen Group, along with operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan and Hong Kong.

The announcement was accompanied with the news that CEO Denise Morrison was leaving,​ replaced by interim CEO Keith McLoughlin. The company is still on the hunt for a new CEO.

The 149-year-old New Jersey-based company also recently settled a months-long proxy battle with activist investor Daniel Loeb,​who was pushing for an outright sale of the company.

Campbell agreed to add two new board members nominated by billionaire Loeb’s Third Point LLC, expanding the size of the board to 14 members from 12.

Meanwhile, Arnott’s has released a new range of sundaes that combine its classic biscuit favourites with ice cream.

The range – which includes Tim Tam, Mint Slice, Monte Carlo and Caramel Crown biscuits topped with warm fudge, whipped cream and all the sundrys necessary to create sumptuous sundaes - is only available at selected Gold Class Event Cinemas across the country.

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