U.S. food companies Kraft Heinz Co (KHC.O) and Mondelez International Inc (MDLZ.O) have been short-listed to participate in the second round of Campbell Soup Co’s (CPB.N) auction of its international business, people familiar with the matter said.
The development boosts Campbell Soup’s chances of divesting its international portfolio, which includes its Australian cookie brand Arnott’s and Danish baked snacks maker Kelsen Group, with one deal. Both Kraft Heinz and Mondelez are interested in the assets so they can expand their global footprint. Based on the first-round bids received, Campbell Soup could fetch close to $3 billion for its international business, the sources added.
Private equity firms Bain Capital LP, KKR & Co Inc (KKR.N) and FinTrek Capital Hong Kong Co Ltd also made the shortlist to participate in the second round of the auction for Campbell Soup’s international business, according to the sources.
Nutella maker Ferrero SpA, which had previously also expressed interest in the assets, is currently in talks with Campbell Soup over whether it will remain involved in the auction process, the sources added.
Campbell Soup could wrap up the auction for its international business in the first quarter of 2019, the sources said, asking not to be identified because details of the process are confidential.
In November, Campbell Soup settled a proxy contest against Third Point by agreeing to add two of the activist hedge fund’s nominees to the food company’s board, and giving the investor a say in selecting Campbell Soup’s next CEO.