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Report: Campbell plans sale of fresh-foods unit to investors led by former exec

Campbell Soup Co. is in discussions to sell its fresh-foods business, which includes Bolthouse Farms, to investors led by former Bolthouse CEO Jeff Dunn, The Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 4, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Dunn was Bolthouse CEO when it was sold to Campbell for $1.55 billion in 2012. The unit, which has been weighed down by supply-chain issues, is valued between $500 million and $700 million after Campbell wrote down its value by $1 billion, sources told the news outlet.

In late August, the New Jersey-based soup maker confirmed earlier reports about its plans to sell its overseas operations, Campbell International, and refrigerated-foods unit, Campbell Fresh, in a bid to reduce debt and improve the company's portfolio. The canned soup maker intends to focus on its Campbell Snacks and Campbell Meals and Beverages units in its key North American market.

The company is engaged in a proxy war with hedge fund Third Point LLC, which has previously called for the entire company's sale. Third Point has also nominated a 12-member panel to replace Campbell's entire board. Campbell shareholders are slated to elect directors at the annual shareholder meeting on Nov. 29, according to the report.