Analysts Say Campbell Not Appetizing for Kraft

(Bloomberg) -- Skip the soup.

While its no secret that Kraft Heinz Co. investors have been urging the ketchup giant to look at deals as a way to bolster its languishing stock price, Campbell Soup Co. shouldn’t look appetizing, according to analysts. This comes after a June 22 New York Post article said the ketchup giant was eyeing the soup company in a possible transaction.

Analysts Say Campbell Not Appetizing for Kraft

While a Kraft Heinz acquisition of Campbell Soup may add to its bottom line, analysts say the soup maker lacks international appeal and has its own deal integration issues to contend with after its acquisition of Snyder’s-Lance Inc.

Even if a deal could provide approximately 10 percent accretion to Kraft, Campbell “does not provide international routes to market,” Wells Fargo analyst John Baumgartner writes in a note. In addition, the retailers’ prioritization of private label, in a category that isn’t showing growth, may pressure Campbell’s “hallowed” soup margins, he says. In a deal, Baumgartner estimates synergies topping out at 8 percent of Campbell’s revenue.

The bottom line is that Wells Fargo doesn’t see Campbell “structurally improving” Kraft Heinz’s business. Kraft could even face multiple contraction.

JPMorgan analyst Ken Goldman views it differently. He sees a potentially strong profit accretion of at least 20 percent with the use of Campbell as a “stepping stone” to a larger deal in the future. He also pointed out that 3G has historically coveted strong brands, and the iconic Campbell Soup label transcends mere food packaging thanks to Andy Warhol.

There is some agreement between the analysts, as Goldman says Campbell doesn’t appear to fit Kraft’s desire to buy “growth-type assets that can expand internationally.” Furthermore, Campbell is “highly exposed” to direct store delivery, which in Goldman’s view is less valuable than it used to be.

Shares of Campbell are up as much as 9.2 percent, the biggest intraday advance in nearly sixteen years, while Kraft advances as much as 2.1 percent to the highest since March 19. The deal speculation is driving broad gains in peers, with the S&P 1500 Packaged Foods Index gaining as much as 1.4 percent to the highest in three months.

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