Campbell to acquire kids nutrition company Plum Organics

CAMDEN, N.J. — Campbell Soup Company today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Plum Organics, a provider of premium organic foods and snacks that serve the nutritional needs of babies, toddlers and children.

The company, based in Emeryville, Calif., is the No. 2 brand of organic baby food in the U.S. and the No. 4 baby food brand overall.

The acquisition of Plum Organics will provide Campbell with an attractive platform to extend its core categories of simple meals, snacks and beverages and enhance its access to a new generation of consumers. Plum's products have strong distribution in key customer channels, including online and  natural and baby specialty outlets. With the addition of Plum Organics' products, Campbell's portfolio of kid-focused soups, beverages and snacks will have annual sales of more than $1 billion.

Baby food is an approximately $2 billion category in the United States. From 2010 to 2012, the premium and organic segments grew at an average annual rate of 43%.

Denise Morrison, Campbell's president and CEO, said, "Plum Organics' nutritious, on-trend products are a great addition to our North American portfolio of leading brands. The acquisition will help deliver on our dual mandate to strengthen our core businesses and to expand into faster-growing categories and adjacencies. It represents another step toward our long-term goal of shifting Campbell's center of gravity."

Plum, started in 2007 by co-founder Neil Grimmer, has used rapid innovation to launch more than 150 products for babies, toddlers and kids in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Top Plum products include organic baby food in convenient squeezable pouches; "Super Puffs," a line of bite-sized nutritious puffed snacks; "Plum Mighty Four," a new line of nutritious toddler snack pouches and "Plum Kids" 'Mashups,' a line of fun squeezable fruit, veggies and Greek yogurt.

Campbell plans to operate Plum as a standalone business within its Campbell North America division. Senior members of Plum Organics' management team, including Grimmer, will join Campbell and continue to lead Plum and its mission-driven culture from Emeryville. As President of Plum, Grimmer will report to Mark Alexander, President of Campbell North America.

Plum Organics generated $93 million in gross sales for the year ended Dec. 31, 2012. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The acquisition will not affect Campbell's previously-announced fiscal 2013 guidance.

Campbell will fund the acquisition through available credit. The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, and is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013.

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