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Campbell Soup Company buys Sovos Brands, maker of Rao’s for $2.7 billion

By Eva Rothenberg, CNN

New York (CNN) — Iconic canned soup company Campbell is expanding its reach in the Italian food market.

Campbell (CPB) announced Monday that it would acquire Sovos Brands, maker of the popular Italian food brands like Rao’s sauces and Michael Angelo’s frozen entrees, as well as noosa yogurt, in a deal worth $2.7 billion.

“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,” Campbell’s president and CEO Mark Clouse said in a statement. “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.”

Campbell’s Meals & Beverages division includes its trademark soups, SpaghettiO’s, juice brand V8 and Prego sauces. But Campbell said Rao’s sauces attract a different consumer set than Prego’s.

“Rao’s is the premium, market-leading sauce and it strengthens and diversifies our Meals & Beverages portfolio, complementing the core, mainstream portfolio,” the company told CNN. “It also provides an opportunity for expansion to adjacent categories like frozen meals, dry pasta, premium ready to serve soups.”

By acquiring premium frozen meal brand Michael Angelo’s, Campbell will also beef up the frozen food portfolio it already owns under its Pepperidge Farm’s brand.

While popular yogurt brand noosa is “not core to our strategy,” the company told CNN, “noosa is terrific, well-run business, with great products and strong profitability… The strength of the business will allow us to be patient as we evaluate strategic alternatives.

Sovos Brands founder and head Todd Lachman called the acquisition a “momentous occasion.”

“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,” he said in a statement included in Campbell’s news release. “This transaction is expected to create substantial value for our shareholders, resulting in a 92% increase from our 2021 IPO price.”

Shares of Campbell on Monday closed at $44.34, down $0.81, or 1.79%.

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