Kraft Heinz & Mondelēz Emerge as Bidders for Campbell's International Business

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Kraft Heinz & Mondelēz Emerge as Bidders for Campbell's International Business

Campbell's headquarters

CAMDEN, N.J. — Kraft Heinz and Mondelēz International made the shortlist to participate in the second round bidding for Campbell Soup Co.'s international business.

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, sources told CNBC.

The assets would allow both Kraft Heinz and Mondelēz to expand their global footprint. Based on the first-round of bids received, Campbell Soup could sell its international business for close to $3 billion, the sources revealed.

Bain Capital LP, KKR & Co. and FinTrek Capital Hong Kong Co. Ltd. — all private equity firms — also made the shortlist to participate in the second round of the auction.

Following a board-led strategy and portfolio review to improve performance and drive shareholder value, Campbell Soup Co. announced in late August that it would focus on two distinct businesses, Campbell Snacks and Campbell Meals and Beverages, to focus on its core North American market.

In doing so, the company would pursue the divestiture of Campbell International and Campbell Fresh, which includes Bolthouse Farms, Garden Fresh Gourmet and the company's refrigerated soup business, to focus and improve its portfolio. The company will use the proceeds to reduce its debt, and increase its cost savings target to $945 million by the fiscal year 2022, Convenience Store News previously reported.

Changing Hands in Leadership

Campbell Soup Co.'s board of directors recently elected Mark A. Clouse as its new president and CEO effective Jan. 22.

Clouse, who previously served as CEO of Pinnacle Foods Inc., will succeed Campbell's interim President and CEO Keith McLoughlin, who will remain a director. Clouse also has been elected a director.

Mark Clouse headshot
Mark Clouse

Clouse brings more than 20 years of experience in the food industry, holding senior management positions at leading companies with center-store brands, including Mondelēz International, Kraft Foods and Pinnacle Foods.

"Mark Clouse is an outstanding leader with a proven track record of operational excellence, and we are excited to name him as Campbell’s next president and CEO," said Les Vinney, chairman of the board. "Mark's leadership as CEO of Pinnacle Foods shows a clear track record of delivering solid revenue and earnings growth and generating significant value for shareholders.

"Over the last several months, the Campbell board conducted a thorough search process, and we are confident that Mark is the right person to continue our turnaround plan and lead Campbell to future growth. He brings a wealth of experience in the food industry, as well as a fresh perspective on the opportunities and challenges before us," he added. "Mark was the board's top choice due to his success leading organizations through significant transformations and his history of delivering strong results. We are eager to begin working with him as we continue to build a stronger and more focused Campbell."

Consistent with the terms of the settlement agreement between Third Point and Campbell, Third Point provided constructive input into the CEO search process and fully supports the Campbell board’s decision to name Clouse president and CEO.

"I am honored to lead Campbell and its portfolio of iconic brands into the next chapter of the company’s storied history," Clouse said. "I am committed to delivering Campbell's strategic objectives and look forward to partnering with the board and working alongside the company's many talented employees to deliver sustainable, long-term growth. I am confident that together we can build a prosperous future for Campbell and all of its stakeholders."

Clouse joined Pinnacle Foods from Mondelēz International, where he served as chief commercial officer and chief growth officer, with responsibility for the company's growth strategy and key functions, including corporate strategy, global marketing, global sales, and research, development and quality.

Throughout his 20-year tenure at Kraft, Clouse served in a range of leadership positions managing food brands in developed markets and entrepreneurial global businesses in emerging markets such as Brazil and China.

Prior to joining Kraft, Clouse served in the United States Army as a pilot and completed his service as a captain.