Know When to Walk Away

Campbell Soup’s Emily Waldorf, one of the executives on T&R’s 2012 Under 40 list, says it’s important to learn when to say no to an M&A transaction.

Since joining Campbell Soup just a year ago as director of corporate development, Emily Waldorf has already worked on the $7.7 billion company’s largest deal ever, the $1.5 billion purchase of Bolthouse Farms, a $689 million provider of fresh carrots, beverages and dressings.

During the deal process, Waldorf led the due diligence and valuation efforts and oversaw the complicated project as a whole, ensuring that the acquisition was a good one for shareholders. She always remained ready to say no, she recalls.

What was involved in the Bolthouse Farms transaction?
The really complicating factor around Bolthouse Farms was the complexity of the different businesses that it owned. It had the carrot business as well as the premium juice business and some other smaller businesses. So the due diligence efforts related to this transaction were quite complex. We had 20 different workstreams going on at any given time, and over 70 different stakeholders. My role was focused on working with the banks and outside advisers, as well as our internal folks, to coordinate diligence, and really manage the project. I worked on and led the valuation efforts as well. 

It was a very exciting deal for us. What was interesting and different about it was that the strategic rationale was just so clear. Campbell Soup really wanted to get into the perimeter of the store, where the consumer trends were leading us, and Bolthouse was one of the few and the strongest brands in the perimeter of the store, and really leads the packaged fresh space. It was exciting to be able to execute on such a strong strategic vision for the company.

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