Campbell Soup Co. entered into an agreement to acquire Bolthouse Farms for $1.55 billion in cash.

Campbell Soup Co. entered into an agreement to acquire Bolthouse Farms from a fund managed by private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC for $1.55 billion in cash. Bolthouse Farms, Bakersfield, Calif., markets and sells its beverages and dressings under theBolthouse Farmsbrand, and its carrots under theBolthouse Farms, Earthbound FarmsandGreen Giant brands, as well as private label offerings.

The acquisition of Bolthouse Farms will provide Campbell’s with significant presence and a new platform for expansion.

“Bolthouse is a great strategic fit with Campbell. Its business platforms, capabilities and culture are well aligned with the core growth strategies we announced last year,” says Denise Morrison, president and CEO of Campbell’s, Camden, N.J. “Its strong position in the high-growth packaged fresh category complements our chilled soup business in North America, and offers exciting opportunities for expansion into adjacent packaged fresh segments that respond directly to powerful consumer trends.”

Campbell’s plans to operate Bolthouse Farms as a separate business unit. Members of Bolthouse’s senior management team, including Jeff Dunn, president and CEO, will remain on staff.

Campbell’s will fund the acquisition of Bolthouse Farms through a combination of short- and long-term borrowings. The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions and is expected to occur in late summer 2012. Including the impact of purchase accounting and suspension of the strategic share repurchase plan, Campbell’s expects that this acquisition will add approximately $0.05 to $0.07 cents per share to its adjusted net earnings in fiscal year 2013, before transaction costs. This estimate is subject to the finalization of the closing date and final closing balance sheet valuation.