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Campbell sees snacks as um um good

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Campbell Soup's planned purchase of Snyder's-Lance for $4.87 billion will mark the 21st acquisition of a snack company this year, making for a record high, according to an industry observer.

The deal is Campbell’s largest in its 148-year history, and the purchase price represents a premium of about 27 percent to Snyder’s-Lance’s closing stock price Dec. 13, the last trading day prior to media reports regarding a potential deal.

“The snack industry is very hot right now, particularly on the health side, but also people are snacking a lot more in many ways,” said Brian Todd, president of The Food Institute, an information service company based in Upper Saddle River.

By buying Snyder’s-Lance, Campbell is looking to drive sales growth and expand its presence in the $89 billion snacking market. The Snyder’s-Lance portfolio includes Snyder’s of Hanover, Lance, Kettle Brand, Kettle Chips, Cape Cod, Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps, Pop Secret, Emerald and Late July.

Camden-based Campbell and Snyder’s-Lance announced an agreement Monday in which Campbell will acquire all of Snyder’s-Lance’s for $50 per share. The acquisition was approved by both company’s board of directors.

“… This acquisition will dramatically transform Campbell, shifting our center of gravity and further diversifying our portfolio into the faster-growing snacking category. We look forward to welcoming Snyder’s-Lance’s employees and their trusted family of leading brands to our company,” said Campbell President and CEO Denise Morrison in a prepared statement.

Campbell's baked snacks product portfolio generated about $2.5 billion in net sales in fiscal 2017. With the addition of the Snyder’s-Lance portfolio, snacking would represent approximately 46 percent of Campbell’s annual net sales (up from 31 percent) on a pro forma basis, the company said. By comparison, Campbell’s soup portfolio would represent approximately 27 percent of the company’s annual net sales.

According to Todd, Campbell’s acquisition of Snyder’s-Lance and other transactions such as The Hershey Co.’s plans to acquire Amplify Snack Brands for $1.2 billion are indicative of  larger food companies looking to “acquire innovation.”

“It’s more expensive to come up with [innovation] yourself,” said Todd.

The acquisition could lead to more jobs for New Jersey depending on if Campbell’s combines offices with Snyder’s-Lance, which is based in North Carolina, Todd said.

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Arthur Augustyn

Arthur Augustyn

Arthur Augustyn grew up in Massachusetts and previously covered the video game industry in Los Angeles, city politics in Malibu, California, and local news in Bergen County before working at NJBIZ. He currently covers cannabis, government and tech.

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