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Report: Ferrero makes it to 2nd round of Campbell Soup auction

Ferrero SpA has joined The Kraft Heinz Co. and Mondelez International Inc. in the second round of bidding for Campbell Soup Co.'s international business, Reuters reported Jan. 18, citing a source with knowledge of the matter.

The Nutella owner already has a plant in Australia and is particularly interested in the Campbell-owned Australian biscuit brand, Arnott's Biscuits Ltd., and its related factories, the source reportedly told Reuters.

Reuters reported in December 2018 that investment bank Rothschild is advising Ferrero on the potential transaction.

Ferrero declined to comment to the wire agency on the matter.

Private equity firms Bain Capital LP, KKR & Co. and FinTrek Capital Hong Kong Ltd. were previously said to have made it to the second round of the auction. It was also reported that Australian buyout firms Pacific Equity Partners and Carlyle Group LP intended to make a joint bid for Campbell's Arnott's Biscuits.

Aside from Arnott's Biscuits, the canned soup maker's international business also includes Danish snacks brand Kelsen Group and operations in Hong Kong and Japan. A sale reportedly could fetch close to $3 billion.

The international business was put up for sale after Campbell came under pressure from activist investor Third Point LLC. The hedge fund, run by Dan Loeb, has urged the company to divest some of its assets in order to improve profitability.