Madison Dearborn to Make 2.4x on Bolthouse Farms Sale

Madison Dearborn Partners looks like it will exit Bolthouse Farms after a roughly seven-year hold.

Campbell Soup announced plans today to buy Bolthouse Farms for $1.55 billion. Bakersfield, Calif.-based Bolthouse is a leading carrot processor. The company markets and sells beverages and dressings under the “Bolthouse Farms” brand, and carrots under the “Bolthouse Farms,” “Earthbound Farms” and “Green Giant” brands.

Madison Dearborn Partners acquired Bolthouse in 2005 for $1.2 billion. The Chicago PE firm contributed $260 million equity as part of the deal for a 72% stake in Bolthouse, according to a November 2005 Moody’s report. In March, Madison Dearborn was considering an IPO for Bolthouse or a sale, Bloomberg reported. MDP was reportedly seeking $2 billion for the vegetable juice maker, Bloomberg says.

The Blackstone Group also bid for Bolthouse while Ares Management and Advent International explored offers, Bloomberg reported.

Bolthouse produced $689 million in sales for the year ended March 31, according to the Campbell statement. Campbell is paying 9.5x adjusted operating earnings for Bolthouse, Reuters says.

Bolthouse currently has $630 million net debt, a person says. Madison Dearborn’s stake had not changed since its initial investment and the buyout shop is expected to make a 2.4x return, the source says.

Morgan Stanley advised Campbell Soup in the auction. Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs provided financial advice to Bolthouse Farms.

Officials for Madison Dearborn declined comment.

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