CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The maker of Lance peanut butter sandwich crackers and Snyder's of Hanover pretzels has officially been taken over by one of the largest U.S. packaged food companies.
Charlotte-based snack maker Snyder's-Lance Inc. and shareholders overwhelmingly approved its planned sale to Camden, New Jersey-based Campbell Soup Co. and the deal was closed Monday.
Snyder's-Lance said more than 99 percent of votes cast at a special meeting Friday backed the nearly $6.1 billion sale announced in December.
Snyder's-Lance is headquartered in Ballantyne and hundreds of local employees have questioned what the buyout means for them and Charlotte's economy.
Channel 9 took those concerns to Campbell Snacks new president.
"My focus is going to be on growing,” Carlos Abrams-Rivera said. “We bought this company because we believe in this brand, we believe in the capabilities and we believe that we can actually grow stronger because we are going to be coming together as one company."
Abrams-Rivera indicated, at least for now, that Charlotte would remain as one of three locations for headquarters for the new company.
Campbell Soup said the acquisition would allow it to expand its distribution channels in the crowded snack market.
Snyder's-Lance employs 6,000 people across the country. The company's headquarters are in Ballantyne, and hundreds of local employees are questioning what the buyout means for Charlotte and how will it affect the local economy.
Campbell’s executives said they think the takeover will help make both companies more efficient. The multi-billion dollar merger will allow the two massive companies to run their operations out of the same warehouses and distribution centers.
Campbell executives think combining operations will help them get better prices for ingredients and packaging. It will also help the soup company expand its snack offerings to include popular items like pretzels and peanut butter sandwich crackers.
Snyder's-Lance makes pretzels and chips. Its most well-known brands include Snyder's of Hanover, Kettle Brand and Pop Secret. It will join the Campbell's division that makes Pepperidge Farm and Goldfish crackers.
Campbell Soup Co. is paying $50 per share -- a 6.8 percent premium to Snyder's-Lance's closing price Friday. That's about a 27 percent premium to the stock's close last Wednesday, just before rumors of a deal began to circulate.
The Snyder's-Lance purchase marks Campbell's sixth and largest acquisition over the last five years. It bought beverage-maker Bolthouse Farms in 2012, baby food company Plum and biscuit company Kelsen in 2013, hummus and salsa maker Garden Fresh in 2015 and soup maker Pacific Foods in 2017.
Snyder's-Lance is one of several major Charlotte companies to be bought out in recent years. Kroger merged with Matthews-based Harris Teeter in 2014. A year later, Dollar Tree acquired Matthews-based Family Dollar and Charlotte-based Belk was bought by a New York equity firm.
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