There’s nothing like a hot cup of soup to warm you up on a cold winter day.
And Campbell’s soup is the brand we’ll often grab for.
We love all remember their ads with the adorable Campbell’s soup kids.
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But our beloved soup brand might not be the same as it was for much longer.
Campbell’s is reportedly in billions of dollars of debt and a NYC hedge fund company is fighting Campbell’s family descendants to allow them to join the company and reshape the beloved brand.
The hedge fund company is looking to bail them out by taking over a majority of their share but the descents of chemist John T. Dorrance, who devised the formula for condensed soup, aren’t interested according to the hedge fund company.
The family owns 40 percent of shares and don’t want to see billionaire Daniel Loeb move in on their family legacy, or so Loeb says.
“We’re interlopers who’ve come in, and they’ve decided to stick with the status quo,” Loeb, who owns NYC’s Third Point hedge fund told the New York Times.
Earings for the company were down 50 percent and attempts to resurrect things have left the company with large debt.
Loeb currently owns 7 percent of Campbell’s stock through his hedge fund.
He is waiting on Campbell’s shareholders to vote on a proposal from Third Point that would give Third Point five seats on the company’s board.
Loeb is looking to restructure the company and modernized the cans to so that people don’t associate the brand with over-processed canned meals. He says his firm is right for the job.
“My cousins were complacent and ignored the truth,” George Strawbridge Jr., who owns nearly 3 percent of the company, said. “It’s very much a shame. The company has run into very hard times and has been undermanaged and undersupervised.”
Archbold D. Van Beuren, a Dorrance descendant, said the company has been working to turn things around before Loeb’s showed up and started to push his proposal.
The New York Times article goes on to highlight the privilege and luxurious world the Campbell’s heirs enjoy and basically blame them for the company’s decline.
“I worked with the family two decades ago,” Michael Silverstein, who works with Third Point, said.
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“They are proud of Campbell’s but introverted. They are fearful of outsiders, fearful of their wealth being taken away. More than 100 family members are dependent on the dividend and fearful of what to do.”
But the Keith R. McLoughlin, Campbell’s interim chief executive says that the situation isn’t as dire as Third Point is making it out to be for their benefit.
“We’ve got a great brand, great products and great cash flow,” he said. “There’s lots to work with.”
He says family members, like Mary Alice Malone, are interested in upholding the integrity of their brands and often offer helpful advice.
“She’s into clean labeling, no artificial flavors and no chicken antibiotics,” Mr. McLoughlin said. “She’s as strong on the product as anyone on the board.”
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Bennett Dorrance will often call and ask why their other products are at different price points like Prego vs. Ragu sauces.
“These people are committed financially and committed personally,” Mr. McLoughlin added. “They’re all in. They’re sophisticated, and they know the New York hedge fund game.”
For now, Campbell’s soup and their other companies and brands remain a family affair.
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