Mondelez and Campbell Soup are currently in a deadlock over the sale of the soup company’s Arnott’s cookie brands, one of Mondelez’s international businesses.
Recently, the Oreo's owner had submitted a final bid for Campbell’s international businesses, including Arnott’s. But the bid was modestly below Campbell’s price expectation of $3 billion, resulting in an impasse.
Arnott’s has the interest of some other buyers like KKR, a consortium backed by private equity firm. It is undisclosed what price the private equity firm has offered to buy Arnott, but it is known that they pay less for acquisitions than corporate buyers.
The impasse has put Campbell in an awkward situation, as it may either have to sell Arnott’s below its desired price or abandon the sales process altogether. Last year,Campbell had already put the unit up for sale to help pay down its debt following its $6.2-billion purchase of pretzel and chip company Snyder’s-Lance.
The deadlock also beckons the question of whether the two companies are better off separate than together.
The impasse also poses bigger challenges for the food industry as a number of big brands like Kraft Heinz (KHC), Kellogg (K) and General Mills (GIS) are now focussing on smaller investments on nimbler brands than pay big premiums. Mendelez recently bought premium cookie brand Tate’s Bake Shop for $500 million. Frito-Lay-owner PepsiCo likewise has made small add-ons, recently buying apple chips maker Bare Foods for less than $200 million.