Shares ofCampbell Soup Co. rose in after-hours U.S. trading on reports that Daniel Loeb’sThird Point LLC has acquired a stake and is pressing for a turnaround at the 149-year-old company.
Third Point has a stake of at least $300 million in the soup maker, The Wall Street Journalreported Tuesday, citing a person familiar with the matter. The holding amounts to more than 2.5 percent of Campbell’s stock, the Journal said. Separately, the New York Postsaid Loeb has hired an investment banker to help convince family members who essentially control the company to put it up for sale, also citing unnamed sources.
Campbell Soup shares climbed 3.7 percent in electronic trading after the market closed on Tuesday. The company said it does not comment on rumors or speculation around trading activity.
“We maintain an open, engaged dialogue with all of our shareholders, and welcome all investments in our company,” it said in a statement sent to Bloomberg. It added that it’s undertaking a comprehensive review of the business and will “examine all potential paths forward to maximize shareholder value.”
Campbellsaid when it announced the exit of Chief Executive Officer Denise Morrison in May that it would start a strategic review of its businesses, which will “take several months to complete.” It plans to update investors on the outcome when it reports fiscal fourth-quarter results in late August.
Loeb has spoken with interim CEO Keith McLoughlin about possible courses of action, the Journal said. The Post reported last week that the activist investor is already talking to Dorrance family members about supporting a potential sale.
Campbell’s shares got a jolt in June on areport thatKraft Heinz Co. was interested in a deal. Both companies declined to comment on the speculation. Campbell’s ownership structure makes it a tricky target. About 41 percent of the shares are held by descendants of John Dorrance, a longtime company executive in the early 20th century who is credited with inventing condensed soup.
— With assistance by Maria Jose Valero
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