Campbell Soup buys Snyder's-Lance for $4.9B

By Allen Cone  |  Dec. 18, 2017 at 2:41 PM
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Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Campbell Soup announced Monday a deal to buy the snack maker Snyder's-Lance for $4.87 billion.

The 148-year-old company said it plans to pay $50 a share in an all-cash deal. That's a 27 percent premium to Snyder's closing price on Wednesday on Nasdaq, a day before CNBC first reported the company was considering the sale.

Campbell, based in Camden, N.J., has been on a buying spree, acquiring Bolthouse Farms in August 2012, organic baby food company Plum in June 2013, biscuit company Kelsen in August 2013, fresh salsa and hummus maker Garden Fresh Gourmet in June 2015, and organic broth and soup producer Pacific Foods earlier this month.

Campbell's other brands include Pepperidge Farm products -- cakes, Goldfish crackers and Milano cookies -- which it acquired in 1961. Campbell's also makes Arnott's Tim Tam Biscuits.

"The acquisition of Snyder's-Lance will accelerate Campbell's strategy and is in line with our purpose, 'real food that matters for life's moments,' " Denise Morrison, Campbell's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "It will provide our consumers with an even greater variety of better-for-you snacks."

Snyder's-Lance, the No. 2 salty snack company behind Frito-Lay, produces brands that include Snyder's of Hanover, Kettle, Cape Cod, Jays, Archway and Diamond. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Snyder's-Lance has approximately 6,000 employees and operates 13 manufacturing centers throughout the United States and Britain.

"This acquisition will dramatically transform Campbell, shifting our center of gravity and further diversifying our portfolio into the faster-growing snacking category," Morrison said about the company, which was founded in 1869.

Campbell's plans to finance the acquisition through $6.2 billion of debt.

Campbell's baked snacks generated sales of $2.5 billion in fiscal 2017, which is about 31 percent of Campbell's sales. Campbell's soup portfolio is approximately 27 percent of the company's annual net sales.

Snyder's-Lance's sales were $2.2 billion for the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30.

Lance and Snyder's of Hanover merged in 2010.

Harry V. Warehime first began making pretzels for the Hanover Pretzel Company in 1909 and Philip L. Lance began selling roasted peanuts on the streets of Charlotte in 1913.

"Following a thorough review process of strategic options, we believe this transaction maximizes value for our shareholders through an immediate and certain cash premium," Brian J. Driscoll, president and CEO of Snyder's-Lance, said.

Campbell's stock, before news of its plans to acquire Snyder's broke, was down roughly 18 percent during the past year. It is now trading at around $50 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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