SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Australian private equity firm Pacific Equity Partners (P.E.P.) is prepping for a potential bid for the international brands business of Camden, N.J.-based Campbell Soup Co., according to the Australian Financial Review.
The newspaper noted that P.E.P. on June 28 set up a new Australian company that is believed to have been formed with the intention of holding the Campbell Soup businesses. Campbell Soup’s international portfolio includes the Arnott’s cookie and cracker brands and Danish baked snacks maker Kelsen Group.
If a deal comes to fruition, it would not be P.E.P.’s first foray into the food sector. The private equity firm in 2015 acquired Kerry Pinnacle, the Australian food manufacturing business of Kerry Group, later merging the business with Allied Mills in 2017 to create Allied Pinnacle, Australia’s largest end-to-end bakery ingredient supplier with a strong presence in flour, premixes and prepared bakery products. P.E.P. sold Allied Pinnacle to Nisshin Seifun Group Inc. earlier this year in a deal valued at just under A$1 billion ($710.5 million).
Mondelez International was considered a potential buyer of the Campbell Soup international businesses for many months, but a report from CNBC in early April suggested the talks between Mondelez and Campbell Soup had reached a stalemate. CNBC cited sources suggesting that Mondelez was unwilling to pay Campbell Soup’s roughly $3 billion price expectation.