Campbell Soup (NYSE: CPB) is planning to sell its international division and its Campbell Fresh unit. The two businesses currently bring in about $2.1 billion in annual sales, about a quarter of Campbell’s overall revenue. The company has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Centerview Partners to sell the units. It said it would use the proceeds of the unit sales to reduce its debt.
Campbell International includes Australian biscuits brand Arnott’s and the Kelsen Group. That unit also includes the company’s manufacturing operations in Indonesia and Malaysia and its businesses in Hong Kong and Japan. Campbell Fresh includes Bolthouse Farms (acquired in 2012), Garden Fresh Gourmet (acquired in 2015), and the company’s refrigerated soup business. The company plans to retain the company’s namesake soup brand, as well as Goldfish crackers, Pepperidge Farm cookies, Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels and V8 drinks.
Campbell Soup interim CEO Keith McLoughlin said the company is also considering pursuing a sale of the entire operation. The company has been facing pressure from a hedge fund to sell itself outright. McLoughlin said the board considered the option of a complete sale during its review and ended the process “with a completely open mind.”
McLoughlin stepped into the role after former-CEO Denise Morrison stepped down suddenly in May after a string of poor results. Campbell is still looking for a new permanent CEO. McLoughlin said this week he was not a candidate to take the job.
Campbell Soup is trying to turn around its business amid declining soup sales and a cultural shift toward natural ingredients and prepared foods. Fiscal fourth-quarter sales fell 3 percent for the quarter, which included a 14 percent decline in US soup sales. The company has already announced plans to cut $500 million in costs by the end of its 2022 fiscal year.