business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The New York Times this morning reports that “Apax Partners has agreed to acquire Advantage Sales and Marketing from J.W. Childs and BAML Capital Partners, the latest large leveraged buyout in which a company passes from one private equity group to another.” The deal is said to value Advantage at $1.8 billion, according to reports; Apax will own 85 percent of the company, with existing management owning the balance.

• The Boston Globe reports that a Canadian biotechnology company has asked the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval of a genetically modified (GM) apple that will not brown as quickly after being sliced. US apple growers appear to be skeptical about the use of the GM technology, which originally was developed in Australia for use in potatoes.

• The Network of Executive Women (NEW) has announced that it has launched a Canadian version of the diversity organization, the first NEW expansion outside the US.

“As the first region outside the United States, NEW Canada will pave the way for future international expansion,” says NEW Executive Director Joan Toth. “Through active and passionate committee members, the start-up process has been a thoughtful one, with support from Walmart and other key NEW sponsors and industry suppliers. We appreciate the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors for giving us the platform to launch NEW Canada and to gain support from all of the major chains in Canada.”

• The Wall Street Journal reports that Campbell Soup plans to “begin shifting attention away from reducing salt in its products to focusing more on ‘taste adventure’ as its U.S. soup business has turned cold ... The shift comes as heavy supermarket promotions of such simple meals as boxed macaroni and cheese have battered Campbell earnings in recent quarters.”

According to the story, Campbell has already “unveiled new labels for its soups and store shelf displays. This fall, the company launched a new advertising campaign with the slogan, ‘It's amazing what soup can do,’ highlighting the convenience and health benefits of canned soup. Campbell also plowed more money into discounting.”

• A group led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has agreed to acquire Del Monte Foods for $4 billion.
KC's View: