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Campbell to sell fresh food business for about $500 mln to former executive: WSJ

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(Reuters) - Campbell Soup Co is nearing a deal to sell its fresh foods unit, including Bolthouse Farms, for about $500 million to a group led by the former chief executive officer of the unit, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Former Bolthouse Chief Executive Officer Jeff Dunn, who was leading the group of investors, is working with private-equity firm Butterfly Equity and has entered into exclusive talks with the U.S. food company for Campbell’s fresh food unit, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The two sides could announce a deal as early as Friday, the report said.

A Campbell spokesman declined to comment.

The company’s international unit, along with its fresh food business, has been up for sale since August after Campbell was pressured by investors to boost its profitability and stock performance.

Earlier this year, Campbell said it expects to name buyers for Bolthouse Farms and its international business by the end of fiscal 2019. It had also agreed to sell salsa maker Garden Fresh Gourmet to a unit of Fountain of Health USA, which makes hummus, dips and prepared salads.

Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel

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