Snacks company Snyder's-Lance hires bank to weigh sale after Campbell approach

  • Snyder's-Lance has hired an investment bank to weigh a potential sale after an approach from Campbell Soup, sources told CNBC.
  • Talks are continuing with Campbell and at least one other potential suitor, a source said.
  • The sources cautioned there may be no deal.

Lauren Hirsch | Alex Sherman

Snacks company Snyder's-Lance has hired an investment bank to weigh a potential sale after an approach from Campbell Soup, sources familiar with the situation said on Thursday.

Talks are continuing with Campbell and at least one other potential suitor, one of the sources said on Thursday.

The sources, who cautioned there may be no deal, requested anonymity because the information is confidential. Snyder's did not immediately respond to requests for comment; Campbell declined to comment.

The approach underscores the drive for food industry consolidation as traditional food companies watch their sales drop and struggle to create growth or innovation on their own. Meanwhile, scale is increasingly important to bargain with grocery stores and retailers who are under their own pressure as shopping shifts online.

Snyder's-Lance has a market capitalization of $3.82 billion, while Campbell has a market capitalization of $14.65 billion.

Snyder's-Lance, owner of brands like Cape Cod potato chips, Snyder's pretzels and Pop Secret popcorn, was put together through a compilation of deals. Snyder's merged with Lance in 2010. The combined company bought Diamond Foods in 2016.

It has struggled recently though as integration of its Diamond acquisition proved more costly than expected. Pop Secret has come under pressure as consumers shifted from microwavable popcorn to younger fresh-popped brands like Angie's Boomchickapop.

Campbell has for years looked to acquisitions to help diversify away from its reliance on packaged foods, as consumer tastes have moved to fresher alternatives. It acquired dressing, beverage and vegetable company Bolthouse Farms in 2012 for $1.55 billion. This month it completed its $700 million acquisition of organic broth and soup company Pacific Foods.

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