An affiliate of Butterfly Equity has agreed to purchase Bolthouse Farms from Campbell Soup Co. for $510 million. The agreement is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
Butterfly Equity is a Los Angeles-based private equity firm specializing in the food sector. Bolthouse Farms is Butterfly’s fourth investment within its “seed-to-fork”approach to investing in food across agriculture, aquaculture, food and beverage products, food distribution and foodservice.
Butterfly Operating Partner Jeff Dunn will assume the role of CEO of Bolthouse Farms, where he previously served as president and CEO from 2008 until 2012, when it was acquired by Campbell Soup Co. He continued leading the business for Campbell from 2012 until his departure from the company in 2016.
“Bolthouse Farms holds a special place in the produce industry and my team and I are deeply committed to strengthening and broadening Bolthouse Farms’ unique legacy,” Dunn said.
“We are thrilled to partner with a vertically-integrated produce and fresh food leader with a history as rich as Bolthouse Farms, and we believe the company’s future is very bright especially given the continued rise of plant-based food in the diet of today’s consumer,” said Butterfly co-founder Adam Waglay.
“We are proud to support Bolthouse Farms in further bolstering its strong positioning within fresh carrots and chilled premium beverages, and are excited to back a group of seasoned operators as passionate about produce as Jeff and his team to lead what is already a strong organization,” Dustin Beck, Butterfly’s other co-founder said.
When the sale is finalized, Campbell will have divested its entire Campbell Fresh division. Campbell recently announced the sale of Garden Fresh Gourmet and the company’s Everett, Washington, refrigerated soup plant. In fiscal year 2018, Campbell Fresh recorded net sales of $970 million.
Proceeds from the divestiture of the Campbell Fresh businesses will allow the company to reduce debt by approximately $570 million. The transactions are not expected to impact the company’s fiscal 2019 guidance.
“The sale of Bolthouse Farms supports our strategy to focus on our two core North American businesses, Campbell Snacks and Campbell Meals and Beverages, where we have iconic brands and strong market positions,” said Mark Clouse, president and CEO of Campbell, based in Camden, New Jersey.
Acquired by Campbell in August 2012, Bolthouse Farms produces organic beverages, dressings and carrots. Bolthouse Farms is based in Bakersfield and Santa Monica, California, and operates facilities in Hodgkins, Illinois, Wheatley, Ontario and Prosser, Washington. The company has approximately 2,200 employees. Founded in 1915 Bolthouse Farms has access to more than 65,000 acres of agricultural land.
As outlined in August 2018 as part of its board-led strategy and portfolio review, Campbell launched thorough divestiture processes for both its Campbell Fresh and Campbell International businesses. The process to divest Campbell International is ongoing.