The deal, which also included Norwegian sister company Yellow Chips, would see Campbell withdraw from snack manufacturing in Europe.
Under the terms of the agreement, Campbell would retain the Kettle brand business in the US and all other geographies except for Europe and the Middle East.
Commenting on the proposed transaction, Valeo Foods chief executive Seamus Kearney said: “The global snacking segment continues to grow and the proposed acquisition of Kettle Foods provides a great opportunity to further strengthen our expanding portfolio of international brands.
“This acquisition is consistent with our long-term goal of building a dynamic international portfolio of attractive, resilient and popular food brands that consumers love to enjoy.”
The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions – including the relevant regulatory approvals and consultation with employee representative bodies – and is expected to close in the first quarter of the 2020 financial year.
Valeo’s acquisition of Kettle would see at least 492 new employees taken under its wing – 411 production staff and 81 working in administration.
Rumours of Kettle’s sale
Rumours around the potential sale of Kettle to Valeo began circling last month, then valued at £50m by industry experts – up from the £20m Campbell paid for the company to PepsiCo less than a year ago.
The valuation was a sign that Valeo saw Kettle as a premium brand worth investing in, according to Rollits corporate finance director Julian Wild, with plans to create a larger food group that could float on the stock market.
“Kettle made a loss of over £4m on £51m turnover in the seven months to July 2018,” said Wild. “But it is a £90m turnover business, with a good brand, and Valeo obviously thinks it can turn it around.”
Meanwhile, US processor Pilgrim’s Pride is to acquire UK pork producer Tulip from Danish Crown in a £290m deal.