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Monday, 29 January, 2001, 18:04 GMT
Campbell Soup buys rival Batchelor's
Campbell's and Oxo logos
Campbell's is buying Oxo and Batchelor's soup
Family favourite Campbell Soup has splashed out one billion euros (632m) to expand from its traditional products and start selling powdered soups and sauces.

US firm Campbell Soup is to acquire its new packet soup business from Dutch food giant Unilever.

This includes such well known kitchen staples as Oxo cubes and the popular Batchelors cup-a-soup range.

The sale also includes household names in the wider European market such as Lesieur mayonnaise in France, Bla Band in Scandinavia and Heisse Tasse of Germany.

Yearly sales of the brands being bought by Campbell total 435m euros.

Food analysts saw the price as a good one for Campbell, giving it a powerful array of new goods to stock shelves and notch up sales.

Competition concerns

Unilever is a food and detergent giant, whose well known trade names include Magnum ice-cream, Lipton tea and Vaseline Intensive Care.

Campbell's tomato soup
Campbell's best-loved classic
The Dutch firm was forced to sell off its soup business due to competition concerns arising from its acquisition of the Bestfood's group which sells Knorr soup and Hellmans Mayonnaise.

Nestle was reportedly a front runner in the race to snap up Unilever's discarded products, but was pipped to the post by soup giant Campbell.

The deal awaits approval from the European Commission's competition authorities.

Campbell's share price reacted positively to the news, adding 2.54% to its value by midday local time (5pm London time).

Stock in the soup company was trading at $32.75 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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See also:

04 Aug 00 | Business
Unilever in major shake up
06 Jun 00 | Business
Unilever seals Bestfoods deal
27 Aug 99 | The Company File
Farewell to an American classic
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