Madison Dearborn Sells Bolthouse For $1.5B

Target: Bolthouse Farms

Price: $1.55 billion

Sponsor: Madison Dearborn Partners

Buyer: Campbell Soup

Financial Advisers: Target: Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs; buyer: Morgan Stanley

Madison Dearborn Partners looks like it will exit Bolthouse Farms after a roughly seven-year hold, sister Web site peHub reported.

Campbell Soup Co. announced plans to buy Bolthouse Farms for $1.55 billion. Bakersfield, Calif.-based Bolthouse is a leading carrot processor. The company markets and sells beverages and dressings under the “Bolthouse Farms” brand, and carrots under the “Bolthouse Farms,” “Earthbound Farms” and “Green Giant” brands.

Madison Dearborn Partners acquired Bolthouse in 2005 for $1.2 billion. The Chicago firm contributed $260 million equity as part of the deal for a 72 percent stake in Bolthouse, according to a November 2005 Moody’s report. In March, Madison Dearborn was considering an IPO for Bolthouse or a sale, Bloomberg reported. Madison Dearborn was reportedly seeking $2 billion for the vegetable juice maker, Bloomberg said.

The Blackstone Group also bid for Bolthouse while Ares Management and Advent International explored offers, Bloomberg reported.

Bolthouse produced $689 million in sales for the year ended March 31, according to the Campbell statement. Campbell is paying 9.5x adjusted operating earnings for Bolthouse, Reuters said.

Bolthouse currently has $630 million net debt, a person with knowledge of the situation told peHub. Madison Dearborn’s stake had not changed since its initial investment and the buyout shop is expected to make a 2.4x return, the source said.

Morgan Stanley advised Campbell Soup in the auction. Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs provided financial advice to Bolthouse Farms.

Officials for Madison Dearborn declined comment.

(Luisa Beltran is a senior writer for peHub.)