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Campbell Soup Set to Acquire Iconic Italian Food Brand Rao's and Parent Company Sovos Brands for $2.33 Billion Over the past 100 years, Rao's has gone from a Harlem neighborhood staple to its sauces being sold at grocers across the U.S.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Key Takeaways

  • Campbell Soup acquires Sovos Brands, parent company of Rao's, in a $23 per share deal, totaling $2.33 billion.
  • The original Rao's has been around for over a century, and at 127 years old, reservations are still near impossible.
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Campbell Soup announced on Monday that it will acquire Sovos Brands, the parent company of Michael Angelo's and Rao's, for $2.33 billion in cash. The move marks a strategic expansion of Campbell's meals and beverages segment by incorporating Sovos' premium Italian sauces.

"We're thrilled to add the most compelling growth story in the food industry and welcome the talented employees who have built a nearly $1 billion portfolio," Campbell's president and CEO Mark Clouse said in a statement. "The Sovos Brands portfolio strengthens and diversifies our Meals & Beverages division and paired with our faster-growing and differentiated Snacks division, makes Campbell one of the most dependable, growth-oriented names in food."

Under the agreement, Campbell will pay $23 per share for Sovos, marking a premium of nearly 28% over the stock's previous closing price. Sovos Chief Executive Todd Lachman said the transaction is a 92% increase from the company's initial offering price in 2021, per The Wall Street Journal.

The transaction between Campbell and Sovos is anticipated to conclude by the close of December.

The original Rao's location in East Harlem, New York, New York. Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

What Is Rao's?

Rao's Restaurant has a long history starting in 1896 with its family-owned East Harlem restaurant, famous for its comforting Italian fare with options ranging from classic meatballs to seafood salad.

Reservations are close to impossible to get, even for savvy New Yorkers. Grub Street once lamented that "you would have better luck getting invited to dinner at the White House."

Almost a century after the restaurant's founding, then-fourth-generation co-owner Frank Pelligrino founded Rao's Specialty Foods to bring the flavors from the Harlem storefront to homes across the country. In 2017, the brand was acquired by Sovos for an undisclosed amount.

Related: These 15 Mom and Pop Restaurants Are the 'Hidden Gems' of American Cuisine

Now, the brand offers dozens of products ranging from sauce, pasta, and frozen meals available in stores across the country. Two additional restaurant locations have also opened in Las Vegas and Los Angeles — operated by Rao's Restaurant Group.

However, Rao's Specialty Foods and Rao's Restaurants operate as two separate entities.

The original Rao's location has thrived with age. During the pandemic, the restaurant pivoted to takeout for the first time in its then 124-year-old history, which let many locals try the signature lemon chicken for the first time.

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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