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Campbell Soup to buy Snyder's-Lance in $4.87B deal

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Campbell Soup announced plans Monday to buy Snyder's-Lance following months of speculation about a pending deal between the two food industry giants.

The estimated $4.87 billion purchase, the largest in New Jersey-based Campbell's history, will help Campbell cash in on the growing better-for-you snacking trend as its soup sales sag, company officials said Monday.

Campbell first approached North Carolina-headquartered Snyder's-Lance about a deal this past summer. The companies settled on a $50-per-share, all-cash transaction, which they expect to close in the second quarter of 2018.

Snyder's-Lance's products include Snyder's of Hanover pretzels, Lance crackers, Kettle- and Cape Cod-brand chips, Emerald nuts and Pop Secret popcorn, among other snacks. The company has about 6,000 employees and 13 manufacturing sites, including major operations in western York County. It had net sales of $2.2 billion in the 12 months that ended Sept. 30.

Campbell, meanwhile, owns a diverse range of companies, including its signature soups, snack brands like Pepperidge Farms and V8 vegetable juice. It reported $7.89 billion in net sales in the fiscal year that ended July 30, down 1 percent from the previous year.

Soup accounted for the bulk of Campbell's business for much of its 148-year history. By 2011, however, it made up just 42 percent of the company's net sales, a number that dropped to 35 percent in 2017. That percentage could fall to 27 percent after the Snyder's-Lance purchase, Campbell officials said Monday.

The company is shifting its bets to snacks, which it expects will make up nearly half of its post-acquisition net sales. Officials expect so-called "better-for-you" products will make up a big portion of future growth.

Campbell is far from alone in banking on consumers' growing desire for quick and healthy snacks. Hershey announced plans Monday to buy Amplify Snack Brands Inc., the Texas-based maker of SkinnyPop popcorn and Oatmega protein bars. Snyder's-Lance has expanded its own better-for-you options over the years.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Campbell Soup's 2017 net sales. The company had $7.89 billion in net sales in the 12 months that ended July 30. 

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Jennifer Wentz

Jennifer Wentz

Jennifer Wentz covers Lancaster County, York County, financial services, taxation and legal services. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at jwentz@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @jenni_wentz.

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