Global investment firm KKR and Campbell Soup Company have signed a stock and asset purchase agreement that involves the Aussie brand of Arnott’s.
The deal will see KKR acquire certain international operations from Campbell, for about US$2.2 billion, and enter into a long-term licensing arrangement for the exclusive rights of certain Campbell brands.
This includes the Arnott’s biscuits brands as the company’s ongoing growth has been supported by the Campbell Soup Company’s investment in the business.
Most of Campbell International’s sales are now generated by Arnott’s.
Along with the Arnott’s line, the deal includes Campbell’s simple meals and snacking brands, such as Campbell’s, Swanson, V8, Prego, Chunky and Campbell’s Real Stock, to be used in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and other select markets in Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
KKR will also acquire Campbell International’s manufacturing operations in Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia.
In a statement, Arnott’s describes its investment in its Australian biscuit facilities at more than $400 million since its purchase by Campbell Soup Company in 1997, and that this includes a $40 million fully automated biscuit packing line at its Virginia bakery – one of the largest robotic installations of its type globally.
The investment will transition these certain Campbell International operations to a standalone company, with access to “significant capital and operational resources” for long-term growth and innovation.
KKR member David Lang said the Campbell International company represents a “unique portfolio” of iconic brands known and loved by consumers in Australia and across the world.
“We are privileged and excited to have the opportunity to invest in and grow Arnott’s as an independent business in Australia, in addition to further developing Campbell’s trusted brands across the broader Asian market,” he said.
“This is a milestone investment for KKR, and we look forward to working closely with the Campbell International management team to seek out new and exciting opportunities.”
KKR is making its investment primarily through its core investments strategy, which represents capital targeting of longer-term opportunities.
The transaction is expected to close within the next six months, subject to customary closing conditions.
Other details of the transaction were not disclosed.