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PepsiCo, Theo Muller Group form joint venture, enter U.S. dairy market

BY Allison Cerra

PURCHASE, N.Y. — PepsiCo has established a joint venture with a privately held, Germany-based dairy business, through which the companies will enter the growing U.S. dairy market in mid-July with innovative premium yogurt products.

PepsiCo and Theo Muller Group said their joint venture, Muller Quaker Dairy, will launch the following yogurts:

  • Muller Corner and Muller Greek Corner offer a new way to enjoy yogurt with add-ins you can flip, stir or dip. Corner varieties include blueberry, strawberry, Crispy Crunch, Choco Balls, chocolate flakes and crunchy granola. The Greek-style varieties include honeyed apricot, strawberry, blackberry and raspberry, and caramelized almond;

  • Muller FrutUp varieties include Blueberry Bliss, Very Cherry, Luscious Lemon, Peach Passion Fruit, Radiant Raspberry and Splendid Strawberry, starting with fruit fresh from farmers and prepared onsite with the yogurt. The unique part is the fruit on top — perfect for scooping, swirling or mixing.

The lines will be sold through supermarket and club retailers in 17 markets in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic U.S. starting this summer.

As part of partnership, the companies are building a state-of-the-art yogurt manufacturing plant in Batavia, N.Y. Once completed in 2013, it will be one of the largest yogurt plants in the United States, and is expected to create more than 180 new jobs in upstate New York, PepsiCo and Theo Muller Group said.

"As we’ve seen through the success of our dairy business in other parts of the world, this is a category with strong growth prospects," said Mehmood Khan, PepsiCo chief scientific officer, global research and development. "Muller makes some of Europe’s most delicious and unique dairy products, and there is no better partner PepsiCo could have in order to meet historic U.S. consumer demand for premium yogurt. With the name recognition and trust Quaker provides, together, we will be able to offer U.S. consumers an amazing range of products that taste delicious and are unlike anything on the market currently."

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Campbell’s to acquire Bolthouse Farms

BY Allison Cerra

CAMDEN, N.J. — Campbell’s is expanding its business in the healthy beverage and packaged fresh foods businesses with the acquisition of Bolthouse Farms.

Campbell’s said it would acquire Bolthouse Farms from a fund managed by private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners for $1.55 billion in cash. The company said that it plans to operate Bolthouse Farms as a separate business unit, while members of Bolthouse’s senior management team, including president and CEO Jeff Dunn, will remain with the company.

"Bolthouse is a great strategic fit with Campbell," Campbell’s president and CEO Denise Morrison said. "Its business platforms, capabilities and culture are well aligned with the core growth strategies we announced last year. Its strong position in the high-growth packaged fresh category complements our chilled soup business in North America, and offers exciting opportunities for expansion into adjacent packaged fresh segments that respond directly to powerful consumer trends."

The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions and is expected to occur in late summer 2012.

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Topco names new general counsel

BY Allison Cerra

SKOKIE, Ill. — Topco Associates has appointed Andrew Broccolo to serve as its general counsel, the company said.

In his role, Broccolo "will be instrumental in helping Topco effectively manage risk while also providing sound legal advice that assists us in driving our day-to-day business of delivering value to the association’s 52 members," Topco president and CEO Randy Skoda said. Broccolo will report to Skoda.

Broccolo has worked in both public and private practice for more than 15 years, including positions with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Sayers40, and Vedder Price Kaufman & Kammholz. Most recently, he has been advising corporate clients on real estate transactions, supplier agreements, governance, employment law and litigation matters.

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