Mondelez in Advanced Talks for Campbell's Cookie Assets
(Bloomberg) -- Mondelez International Inc., the maker of Oreo cookies and Cadbury chocolates, is in advanced talks to acquire international brands being sold by Campbell Soup Co., people familiar with the matter said.
Mondelez is negotiating final terms of a purchase of Arnott’s Biscuits, the Australian maker of Tim Tam cookies, and Danish butter-cookie producer Kelsen Group, according to the people. The parties have been discussing a price of around $2.5 billion for the assets, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
Campbell Soup said in August that it was planning to sell its international and fresh food businesses after a three-month review. The company, which has faced pressure from activist investor Dan Loeb, laid out plans to reevaluate its portfolio of brands.
Arnott’s Biscuits started out in 1865 as a bakery north of Sydney, according to its website. It currently employs about 2,400 staff in Australia and several thousand people across Asia Pacific. Kelsen Group owns Royal Dansk butter cookies, known for their round blue tins, and Denmark’s Kjeldsens.
No final agreements have been reached, and talks could fall apart or another buyer could emerge, the people said. Ferrero SpA and a consortium backed by KKR & Co. were among suitors that expressed interest earlier in the process, according to the people.
Mondelez shares were little changed, rising 0.2 percent at 9:40 a.m. in New York Friday. Campbell was also little changed, with shares down 0.3 percent.
Representatives for Campbell Soup, Mondelez and KKR declined to comment, while representatives for Ferrero couldn’t immediately be reached for comment outside normal business hours. The Australian newspaper reported March 27 in Sydney that Mondelez had emerged as the sole final bidder for the Campbell businesses, without saying where it got the information.
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