Bloomberg News

Madison Dearborn Said to Weigh Bolthouse Farms Sale or IPO

March 09, 2012

Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, the Chicago buyout firm that owns Bolthouse Farms, is weighing a sale or an initial public offering for the vegetable-juice maker, said three people with knowledge of the matter.

The firm is seeking a price of as much as $2 billion, said the people, who declined to be identified as deliberations are private. Madison Dearborn acquired WM Bolthouse Farms Inc. in 2005, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Madison Dearborn hired Credit Suisse Group AG (CS) as an adviser on the process, said one of these people. The bank will approach other consumer-product companies including Campbell Soup Co. (CPB) as well as private equity funds to gauge their interest in a sale, said the person.

“As a policy we don’t comment on rumor and speculation, but we have said that we are looking to grow through external developments including mergers and acquisitions,” Anthony Sanzio, a Campbell spokesman, said in a telephone interview.

Bolthouse’s origins date back almost a century, when the family of the same name began commercial vegetable farming in Michigan, according to the company’s website. Bolthouse now counts fresh carrots, salad dressings and juices among its products.

Madison Dearborn has invested in industries such as consumer products, financial services and health care, its website shows. The firm, co-founded by Chairman John Canning three decades ago, has completed at least six acquisitions in the past year.

Chuck Dohrenwend, an outside spokesman for Madison Dearborn, declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Credit Suisse.

To contact the reporters on this story: Cristina Alesci in New York at calesci2@bloomberg.net; Jeffrey McCracken in New York at jmccracken3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jennifer Sondag at jsondag@bloomberg.net


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