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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Campbell Soup is selling its salad dressing to help Amazon start another supermarket empire

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Amazon is buying Whole Foods, but this new deal may be for the record books.

Campbell Soup Company announced Thursday that it is spinning off its Bolthouse Farms brand to create a separate company to be called Hain Celestial Group Inc. The new company will be based in White Plains, N.Y., and will be an enormous business: It will include Bolthouse Farms, Garden of Eatin’ and V8, as well as a slew of other brands.

The large business will not be required to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and will initially be led by two Hain Celestial executives, according to a statement from Campbell: Chief Executive Officer Irwin Simon and Chief Financial Officer Steven Oakland. However, Campbell Soup anticipates that they will both serve as board chairs. Campbell President and Chief Executive James Quincey will continue to be President and CEO.

Campbell Soup is also leaving behind the “Campbell Soup Company,” described in the press release as the “pure-play branded packaged food company” that will remain with the company.

The deal is expected to be completed in the second half of this year. Campbell Soup’s shareholders will receive a taxable distribution in cash.

“Bolthouse Farms has an interesting growth potential because it provides additional market coverage across refrigerated and frozen foods and private label,” Mr. Simon said in a release.

Mr. Simon, who has served as CEO of Campbell Soup since 2013, will take on a newly created role as Chairman of the Board of Hain Celestial Group Inc. Campbell Soup will retain a 15 percent stake in the company and maintain a seat on the board.

The announcement follows another strategic push by Campbell Soup to create value for shareholders. Earlier this month, the company announced that it was removing all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives from products by 2025.

Mr. Simon also serves as Chairman of the Advisory Board for David D. Tepper’s Appaloosa Management, and was part of the team that created the hedge fund.

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