Campbell Soup buys carrot and juice maker Bolthouse Farms

AP

(AP) CAMDEN, N.J. - Campbell Soup Co. (CPB) is buying carrot and juice maker Bolthouse Farms for $1.55 billion in cash as it seeks to bolster its struggling business with fresher offerings.

The Camden, N.J.-based company said Monday that Bolthouse's juice line will complement its "V8" beverage business. And the carrots business lets Campbell expand its healthy snacking category.

Known for its iconic red-and-white soup cans, Campbell is trying to revive its business amid growing competition and evolving consumer tastes. This fall, the company plans to roll out a slew of new products such as soup pouches in flavors like Moroccan chicken in hopes of appealing to younger consumers.

Campbell said that it will operate the Bakersfield, Calif.-based Bolthouse as a separate business unit. It expects the deal will boost adjusted 2013 earnings by 5 cents to 7 cents per share. The acquisition from Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, a private equity firm, is expected to close late this summer.

Even as its U.S. soup sales fell in the first quarter, Campbell in May said that sales in its beverage unit rose 5 percent, driven by gains in its V8 Splash and V-Fusion drinks.

Bolthouse Farms sells drinks and salad dressings under its corporate name. Its carrots are also sold under the "Earthbound Farms" and "Green Giant" brands. The company had sales of $689 million for the fiscal year ended March 31.

Campbell shares slipped 3 cents to $32.96 in morning trading Monday. They are trading near the upper end of their 52-week range of $29.69 to $35.02.

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