Campbell to Acquire Sovos Brands

The company called Sovos "the most compelling growth story" in the food sector.

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Sovos Brands/PRNewswire

CAMDEN, N.J., and LOUISVILLE, Colo. — Campbell Soup Company and Sovos Brands Inc. on Monday announced that the companies have entered into an agreement for Campbell to acquire Sovos Brands Inc. for $23 per share in cash, representing a total enterprise value of approximately $2.7 billion.

This represents a 14.6x adjusted EBITDA multiple including expected annual run rate synergies of approximately $50 million. The strategic transaction adds a high-growth, market-leading premium portfolio of brands to diversify and enhance Campbell’s Meals & Beverages division, providing a substantial runway for sustained profitable growth.

Sovos Brands had annual adjusted net sales of $837 million in calendar year 2022 and is a compelling growth story as a North America focused food company with compounded annual organic net sales growth rate of 28% from fiscal 2019 to fiscal 2022 offering a variety of premium products including pasta sauces, dry pasta, soups, frozen entrées, frozen pizza and yogurts under the brand names Rao’s, Michael Angelo’s and noosa.

The flagship Rao’s brand, which represented approximately 69% of Sovos Brands adjusted net sales in fiscal 2022, grew organic net sales by 34.9% compared to the prior year.

“We’re thrilled to add the most compelling growth story in the food industry and welcome the talented employees who have built a nearly $1 billion portfolio,” said Campbell’s President and CEO Mark Clouse. “This acquisition fits perfectly with and accelerates our strategy of focusing on one geography, two divisions and select key categories that we know well. Our focused strategy has enabled us to deliver strong results over the last five years, enhance our brands and capabilities, and generate strong cash flow to lower debt. With all this progress, I am confident in our readiness to execute and integrate this important acquisition. The Sovos Brands portfolio strengthens and diversifies our Meals & Beverages division and paired with our faster-growing and differentiated Snacks division, makes Campbell one of the most dependable, growth-oriented names in food.”

“Today marks a momentous occasion for Sovos Brands as we announce our plans to join the Campbell’s family,” said Todd Lachman, founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sovos. “We have built a one-of-a-kind, high growth food company focused on taste-led products across a portfolio of premium brands, anchored by the Rao’s brand.

"Our success would not have been possible without the incredibly talented and passionate team at Sovos Brands, which has been instrumental in building one of the fastest growing food companies of scale in the industry today. This transaction is expected to create substantial value for our shareholders, resulting in a 92% increase from our 2021 IPO price. As one of the most trusted and respected food companies in North America, I’m confident in Campbell’s ability to continue bringing our products to more households and further building on our track record of growth and success for years to come.”

The acquisition is expected to support Campbell’s long-term financial growth algorithm with expected annualized cost synergies reaching approximately $50 million over the next two years, applying the learnings from the successful integrations of Snyder’s-Lance and Pacific Foods. The transaction is expected to be accretive to adjusted diluted earnings per share by the second year, excluding one-time integration expenses and costs to achieve synergies.

Following the completion of the transaction, Sovos Brands’ results will be managed within Campbell’s Meals & Beverage division.

Campbell plans to finance the acquisition price through the issuance of new debt. Projected leverage is expected to be approximately 4x at closing.

The closing of the transaction is subject to Sovos Brands stockholder approval and customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. Closing is expected by the end of December 2023. The transaction has been approved by both Boards of Directors. In addition, each member of the Board of Directors of Sovos Brands that is a stockholder of Sovos Brands and certain funds affiliated with Advent International that are stockholders of Sovos Brands have entered into voting agreements with Campbell, pursuant to which each has agreed, among other things, to support the transaction.

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