Deal or no deal
We look at the potential suitors when food manufacturers or retailers are up for sale - or put forward as possible takeover targets.
Almost five years after Bright Food snapped up a majority stake in Weetabix, the state-backed Chinese group is said to be looking to offload its shares in the UK-based breakfast cereal business. Speculation started before Christmas and, although Bright Food sought to cool the chatter, the rumours have intensified, with four bidders apparently preparing to table offers. Dean Best surveys the purported runners and riders.
Diamond Foods side-stepped market talk it has put itself up for sale and even suggested it would be open to broadening its own portfolio during a conference call with analysts this week. However, this does not mean the US snacks group's management is closed to the idea of the company shopping itself. Katy Askew takes a look at the possibility of a deal and who could be interested in a punt for the Kettle Chips maker.
With General Mills apparently preparing to sell its Green Giant brand, Bonduelle is rumoured to be looking at a bid. The fit between Green Giant and Bonduelle's existing business is a natural one and the move would significantly step up the French group's presence in North America. However, Green Giant has seen lacklustre sales and its market share decline. Would Bonduelle move for a turnaround story? Katy Askew investigates.
Since Nomad Holdings announced it had acquired European frozen food firm Iglo Group, the market has been waiting for the investment firm's next deal to help its ambition of building a portfolio of "best-in-class" FMCG brands. Nomad confirmed yesterday (4 June) it is in "exclusive" negotiations over the acquisition of assets of Findus Group. The acquisition would strengthen Iglo's hand in the European frozen food sector but, in order to seal the deal, Nomad could have to pay the piper, Katy Askew suggests.
Rumours that private equity-owned Quorn Foods could have piqued the interest of the US's WhiteWave Foods caused a stir this week. Neither company was prepared to comment and it may be Quorn's owner Exponent Private Equity has yet to kick off an auction process but, nonetheless, the speculation highlights the potential the meat-free sector could afford branded food manufacturers. Katy Askew examines Quorn's appeal and who could be tempted by this tasty takeover target.
Unilever is establishing a stand-alone unit for its spreads brands, prompting fresh speculation that the group could be preparing for a sale of the business. At the same time, this week's acquisition of Talenti Gelato & Sorbetto would suggest that the Anglo-Dutch FMCG giant is prepared to invest in growth areas in food. Could these changes spell further portfolio adjustments? Katy Askew reports.
Kerry Group is reportedly mulling the sale of its frozen food business. The company has seen strong sales and profit momentum at its ingredients unit but endured a lacklustre performance from the consumer foods side of the business. In this context, it makes sense for the Irish company to pare down peripheral and under-performing areas of Kerry Foods. Katy Askew reports.
Rumours linking Danone to Mead Johnson have periodically surfaced over the past five years. Much of the rationale justifying such a significant move lies in Danone's strategy in key emerging markets such as China. Following a tie-up with Chinese infant formula maker Yashili International Holdings it would seem Danone is intent on developing strategic partnerships with local players to foster growth. But would a big-bang acquisition make more sense? Katy Askew reports.
Blackstone Group and PAI Partners are progressing with plans to offload UK Jacob's-to-McVitie's manufacturer United Biscuits. The question on everyone's lips is whether the business will be floated or sold. Katy Askew reports.
Chiquita Brands International has rejected a takeover approach from Brazilian juice maker Cutrale Group and investment firm Safra Group in favour of a prior agreement to merge with Ireland's Fyffes. However, the share price reaction suggests investors are betting a higher offer will come in for the US produce group. Katy Askew reports.
The hunter became the hunted yesterday (27 May) as Pilgrim's Pride made a hostile bid for Hillshire Brands. The news comes just days after Hillshire announced its own plans to acquire a third US food group, Pinnacle Foods. Pilgrim's play for the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages leaves that deal looking shaky and has set the market alight with rumours that further takeover bids for Hillshire could follow. Katy Askew reports.
Rumour has it Unilever is looking to sell its Ragu pasta sauce brand, and though the Anglo-Dutch firm has taken a vow of silence over the whole issue, just-food's Hannah Abdulla weighs up a number of reasons why it could be looking to dispose of the brand.
The battle to acquire Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory has evolved into a complex series of tactical manoeuvres that could make Sun Tzu's The Art of War seem like light reading. Since the first takeover approach was announced, the tussle for WCB has seen industry majors Saputo, Murray Goulburn and Bega Cheese competing for ownership of the Australian dairy. With the stakes high, it is clear that it is all still to play for. Katy Askew reports.
In ten days time, Hong Kong retail-to-energy conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa will reportedly consider any offers that have come in for ParknShop, its supermarket chain. However, any interested parties need to consider the challenges facing ParknShop, operating in the saturated Hong Kong market and so far not enjoying significant inroads on the mainland.
Reports emerged earlier this month that US agribusiness giant Cargill is exploring the possibility of buying Archer Daniels Midland's (ADM) cocoa business. While not confirmed, such a purchase would create a global giant in the sector. Michelle Russell takes a closer look.
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