Campbell Soup Co already owns the V8 juice brand

Campbell Soup Co already owns the V8 juice brand

Campbell Soup Co has agreed to buy vegetable-juice maker Bolthouse Farms for US$1.55bn, the company announced today (9 July).

Bolthouse, which also sells fresh carrots and a range of salad dressings, will combine its drinks business with Campbell's V8 brand to create a "healthy-beverage platform". New Jersey-based Campbell said it expected annual sales to be around $1.2bn across the platform. 

“Bolthouse is a great strategic fit,” said Campbell CEO & president, Denise Morrison.

“Its business platforms, capabilities and culture are well aligned with the core growth strategies we announced last year.”

Bolthouse had sales of $689 million and adjusted EBIT of $92 million for the year ended March 31, with 7% annual net sales growth, Campbell said. It employs around 2,100 people.

Campbell will pay cash to private equity firm Madison Dearborn, which owns Bolthouse. The company will fund the buyout through a combination of short- and long-term borrowings.

The firm, best known for its canned soups, will run Bolthouse as a separate business unit, with CEO Jeff Dunn remaining at the helm.

California-based Bolthouse's beverage unit includes juices, smoothies, protein shakes and coffee mixes.

According to reports last week, Bolthouse was the subject of a bidding war among Campbell and private-equity firms including Blackstone Group.

The global fruit/vegetable juice category is expected to grow 5% annually until at least 2015, according to EuroMonitor figures.