Here, CNBC breaks down that lineage and whom an activist investor or potential buyer would need to persuade to make a deal or any other significant strategic change.
All roads start with John T. Dorrance, inventor of the condensed soup formula that served as the basis for the Campbell empire. Dorrance had a number of children, but control of the soup company stayed most tightly through his son Jack T. Dorrance, who was chairman of the soup company from 1962 to 1984. Jack passed in 1989, leaving behind his wife, three children — John T. “Ippy” Dorrance, Mary Alice Malone and Bennett Dorrance — and eight grandchildren.
Two of Jack Dorrance’s three children are Campbell’s largest shareholders, holding a combined 33.1 percent of the company. The third sold down his position two decades ago.
- Mary Alice Malone: Mary Alice is Campbell’s largest shareholder, with a 17.7 percent stake in the company. She has been on the Campbell board since 1990. Malone also is president of Ion Spring Farm, a Pennsylvania-based breeding farm for horses.
- Bennett Dorrance: Bennett has a 15.4 percent stake in the company and has been a board member since 1989. In 1984, he founded DMB Associates, a Phoenix-based real estate development firm.
- Ippy Dorrance: Ippy in 1996 sold down $720 million worth of Campbell stock and moved to Ireland to allegedly avoid pursuant capital gains taxes, according to media reports at the time.
Other John T. Dorrance descendants, mostly great-grandchildren, hold a combined 7.9 percent of the company through the Campbell Soup voting trust. Within the trust, there are two clans, those that descend from Dorrance H. Hamilton and those from Hope H. van Beuren (both of whom were John T. Dorrance’s grandchildren.)
The key members within the van Beuren faction are: Archbold van Beuren, who is its family trustee, and David Patterson, who is a non-family trustee (in other words, he is not a Dorrance descendant).
- Archbold van Beuren: Archbold joined Campbell in 1983 and worked in various positions at the soup company until his retirement in 2009. That year, he joined the Campbell board, on which he continues sit.
- David Patterson: David founded investment firm Brandywine Trust Company and is a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. He served on the Campbell board from 2002 to 2009.
The Hamilton clan has not designated a family trustee. According to a 2017 13D filing, should there be a disagreement between the two clans “shares of the minority may be withdrawn” — or, in other words, they can take their shares out of the trust.
The voting trust decreased its position in Campbell in June 2017, according to Factset.