Each of last week's three major M&A deals - the sale of French frozen-food retailer Picard to yet another private equity house, dairy giant Lactalis buying UK organic firm Rachel's and MWBrands, the canned seafood group that is home to brands like John West, moving into Thai hands - offered as many questions as they had answers.

Picard, now on its third consecutive private-equity owner, is probably already a pretty lean operation so where will new parent Lion Capital look to drive returns? Expansion at home and abroad is a likely answer. But will the French retailer's proposition succeed outside its domestic market?

The sale of Rachel's, meanwhile, suggests previous owner Dean Foods, the largest dairy processor in the US, is seeing its domestic problems mount. Offloading Rachel's means Dean Foods can now focus on battling the own-label threat to its core fluid milk business. The US group is likely to shed more light on this tomorrow (3 August) when the company publishes its second-quarter results.

For Lactalis, the acquisition of Rachel's - the number two organic dairy brand in the UK - will add to its fledgling organic business, which is already gaining traction in France, where the group is the second-largest processor of organic dairy products. But, with recession affecting UK organic sales, and with forecast growth sluggish (Euromonitor is predicting the UK organic yoghurt category will grow at 0.6% a year between 2009 levels and 2014), will the acquisition be a fruitful one for Lactalis?

Rachel's followed John West as a UK consumer food brand to change hands last week after the owner of the canned seafood range, MWBrands, was sold to Thai Union Frozen Products (TUF) in a deal worth EUR680m (US$888m).

With TUF financing the deal through debt, the company's shares slid on the news but the acquisition will broaden the Thai group's business internationally. Europe accounted for 11% of TUF's turnover before the deal; now, a third of its sales will come from the region.

And, according to Euromonitor, TUF is expanding in a region where canned seafood will grow at a solid rate over the next four years. The analysts predict the category will grow 3.8% a year in Western Europe between its level in 2009 and 2014.

TUF called the acquisition of MWBrands a "transformational opportunity" for the business and Thai firms across industry are starting to look at expansion abroad after Bangkok relaxed regulations governing overseas investment.

John West falling into Thai hands can be added to the growing number of UK brands that have owners from the East; indeed, Indian conglomerate Tata is now the UK's largest manufacturer, with not just Tetley but Jaguar Land Rover and Corus, the successor to British Steel, in its portfolio.

And, with reports this morning suggesting Indian food group Britannia Industries could be a possible buyer for parts of United Biscuits, it is possible more of UK manufacturing may have owners in the East.

The world's emerging markets, enjoying growth rates the West can only dream of, are flexing their muscles.