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If you’re like the rest of us, the only way to have a dinner date at a Rao table is to make one at home, using the popular tomato sauce by the jar. Even if you’re a lifelong New Yorker, the chances of snagging a coveted seat at this popular Italian restaurant are close to zero. You see, Rao’s 10 tables have been fully booked for literally decades. Their few tables are permanently reserved exclusively for those who secured their seats by purchasing regular, recurring reservations years ago. And these gilded, secured seats have since been passed down to younger generations and are something of a holy grail when it comes to reading some particularly swanky New York wills.

Needless to say, Rao’s is a pretty big deal. And if you’ve tried the marinara by the jar, you’ll know that if you’re allowed to have just a little bit of New York magic in your pantry, the slightly higher price point than the competition doesn’t matter. And it seems that mega-soup company Campbell is no stranger to this magic either.

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In a recent press release, Campbell’s announced that it will acquire Sovos Brands Inc., the maker of Rao’s pasta sauce.

“We are pleased to add the food industry’s most compelling growth story and applaud the talented people who have built a nearly $1 billion portfolio,” said Mark Clouse, President and CEO of Campbell. “This acquisition fits perfectly with and accelerates our strategy of focusing on one region, two businesses and select key categories that we know well.” Our focused strategy has enabled us to deliver strong results over the past five years, improve our brands and capabilities and generate strong cash flow to reduce debt. With all of this progress, I am confident that we are ready to execute and integrate this important acquisition. The Sovos Brands portfolio strengthens and diversifies our Meals & Beverages division and combined with our faster growing and differentiated Snacks division, makes Campbell one of the most trusted and growth-oriented names in food.”

Of course, every time a big corporation buys something they love, customers have to worry: will they mess with the secret recipe (or realize that’s why they bought it in the first place)? When it comes to Rao’s tomato sauce, lovers of Italian cuisine need not worry (or brush up on their sauce-making skills). Clouse told CBS that when it came to Rao’s pasta sauce recipe, they wouldn’t mess with the magic that created Rao’s NYC: “We don’t touch it! If you think we’ll touch the sauce, no.” (phew.)

The transaction cost Campbell a whopping $2.7 billion, which is the largest acquisition since 2018, when the company paid nearly $5 billion for pretzel brand Snyder’s-Lance. It’s not yet known if Campbell managed to secure a table at Rao’s with that fee, but it’s probably not looking too good.

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Source : www.themanual.com

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