Campbell Soup to sell Fresh Start Bakeries

Sale completes plan to focus on growth-potential foods

April 09, 1999|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

CAMDEN, N.J. -- Campbell Soup Co., the world's largest soup maker, agreed yesterday to sell its Fresh Start Bakeries Inc. unit for an undisclosed price, completing its plan to focus on businesses with the highest growth potential.

Campbell will sell 14 of Fresh Start's 15 bakeries to a joint venture of Berkshire Partners, a Boston investment company, and Fresh Start's management.

The remaining bakery, in Kansas City, Kan., will be bought by a joint venture of Best Harvest LLC and the new Fresh Start venture. The sales are to be completed by the end of June.

Best Harvest LLC is led by Robert M. Beavers Jr., a recently retired McDonald's Corp. senior vice president. Fresh Start, a provider of bakery products to the food-service industry, is a McDonald's supplier.

The sale completes a strategic shift Campbell began in 1996 to keep businesses with the highest growth potential, which include soups, sauces, beverages, biscuits and confections, and sell other businesses.

Since September 1996, the company has sold six businesses and spun off its frozen food and condiment business.

In that time the Camden, N.J., company acquired Erasco, Germany's leading canned-soup company, Liebig, the leading wet-soup business in France, and Stockpot, a U.S. premium refrigerated soup brand.

Campbell shares fell 37.5 cents, to $39.50.

Pub Date: 4/09/99

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