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M&A and joint ventures

Kellogg uses Kashi to belatedly join the fray - Editor's Viewpoint

17 June 2016 | Dean Best

Kellogg has this week made its first acquisition in the US for over four years, snapping up fledgling snack bar maker Pure Organic. The deal is similar to those made by a number of Kellogg's US packaged food peers in recent months as some of the big names in the industry try to adapt to changing consumer trends in the country. Dean Best reflects on the move.... read more

McCormick & Co. has appetite for deals - editor's viewpoint

20 April 2016 | Dean Best

Just a week after dropping its interest in Premier Foods, McCormick & Co. announced the acquisition of Australian chilled herbs firm Botanical Food Co. When the US herbs and spices giant's interest in Premier emerged, McCormick said it had a "pipeline" of targets and industry watchers expect the company to continue to look to M&A for growth.... read more

New private-equity giant L Catterton will stir interest in M&A circles

6 January 2016 | Dean Best

A striking transaction has been announced in the private-equity world, with US buy-out house Catterton to join forces with the investment arm of luxury goods group LVMH - and right along the consumer-facing parts of the food sector companies will be watching closely.... read more

Muller Quaker Dairy did not stand out in US yoghurt crowd

11 December 2015 | Dean Best

Just three years after PepsiCo and Muller launched their bid to capture part of the US yoghurt market, the companies have thrown in the towel. Dean Best believes the companies did not create distinct enough products to succeed in a competitive category.... read more

Why Quorn Foods auction promises to be competitive

8 September 2015 | Dean Best

The starting gun on the race for Quorn Foods is to be fired this week and interest in the UK meat-free business is likely to be high.... read more

M&A Watch - Campbell Soup Co. should be more acquisitive - but avoid fresh

27 July 2015 | Stefan Kirk, M&A advisors Glenboden

Campbell Soup Co. has looked to inject growth into its business through acquisitions in recent years and the indications are this is likely to continue. But where should the US giant look to do deals? Stefan Kirk, just-food M&A columnist and advisor at M&A consultants Glenboden, weighs up the group's options.... read more

Comment: Why M&A activity looks set to rise

17 June 2015 | Katy Askew

The global food sector has seen an array of M&A ranging from the mega deals such as Heinz-Kraft to the more commonplace bolt-on acquisitions as large corporations gobble up smaller players to plug gaps in their portfolios. While the food sector has seen a busy period for deal-making, according to research from Ernst and Young, this could actually intensify in the next 12 months. Katy Askew reports.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Expect Campbell to follow Garden Fresh with more deals

15 June 2015 | Dean Best

Campbell Soup Co. has again moved to inject growth into its business through M&A, snapping up US salsa-to-houmous maker Garden Fresh Gourmet. And the odds are more deals in categories like fresh food and snacks will follow.... read more

Comment: Can Applegate retain consumer trust under Hormel?

27 May 2015 | Katy Askew

Hormel Foods has moved to acquire Applegate Farms to tap into growing demand for natural and organic protein in the US. But what makes Applegate different is its ethical take on food production. If the company is to retain consumer trust under its new corporate owner, Hormel must let Applegate remain true to its founding principles, Katy Askew argues.... read more

Comment: Splenda buy would fit Ajinomoto strategy

8 April 2015 | Katy Askew

Japanese food maker Ajinomoto is said to be interested in acquiring the Splenda sucralose business from UK food ingredients group Tate & Lyle. While Splenda has seen sales and profits hit by heightened global competition, the business nevertheless represents a good fit for Ajinomoto's own ingredients arm, which includes artificial sweetener aspartame. ... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Why Heinz-Kraft merger could herald more deals

30 March 2015 | Dean Best

The US food industry is going through a period of significant change and the major names have struggled to come up with the answers to meet new consumer habits. There have already been signs some are turning to M&A - think of the sales of Bolthouse, of Annie's and even Krave jerky last month - and the Kraft/Heinz mega-merger suggests deal-making could accelerate.... read more

Comment: US legacy brands still have pulling power

18 March 2015 | Katy Askew

Up-and-coming categories and companies are increasingly setting the pace in the US food sector. Demand for natural, healthy, fresh and sustainable products is on the rise. This has left legacy brands facing slumping sales. But, as yesterday's Kraft Foods Group recall shows, there is still considerable interest in the old brands, Katy Askew suggests. ... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Why a sale of Unilever's spreads arm is unlikely to be imminent

8 December 2014 | Dean Best

Unilever's move to internally spin off its spreads unit was seen by many company and industry watchers as a pre-cursor to a sale. However, an imminent sale in unlikely, with the business under-pressure and a paucity of suitors standing buy.... read more

Comment: Why Gardein is Pinnacle's ideal fodder

19 November 2014 | Hannah Abdulla

Pinnacle Foods, owner of Wishbone dressings, has been shopping and has picked out a firm that is going to bulk out its presence in the frozen food aisle and win it brownie points with a heap of consumers. ... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Imminent Hostess Brands sale would be surprise

17 November 2014 | Dean Best

The private-equity owners of Hostess Brands are, according to reports, mulling a sale, just a year after buying the US snacks business. There is speculation Apollo Global Management and C. Dean Metropoulos are planning for to sell Hostess early next year. However, that looks unlikely.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Milk sale makes Dairy Crest takeover target

6 November 2014 | Dean Best

Shares in Dairy Crest shot up today (6 November) after the UK dairy group announced a deal to sell its most problematic and under-pressure division - liquid milk. However, it may just be the City was not just reacting to the exit (dependent of course on competition officials approving the transaction) of Dairy Crest from a sector struggling to make money but the fact there could be takeover interest in the leaner company.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: United Biscuits sees Yildiz head West again

3 November 2014 | Dean Best

Yildiz Holding today (3 November) announced it had won the race to buy UK-based biscuit maker United Biscuits. In doing so, the privately-owned Turkish food group has moved once more to buy a major Western food brand.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Short-termism decides Chiquita's future

27 October 2014 | Dean Best

The imminent sale of Chiquita Brands International, the US produce giant, shows how different investment horizons can manifest on a company's share roster - and decide a business's future.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Boulder Brands should consider Smart Balance sale

23 October 2014 | Dean Best

The US spreads and gluten-free group saw its shares slump yesterday after warning about its short-term profitability. Boulder's Smart Balance business continues to struggle and Dean Best argues the company should be mulling the brand's future within the group's portfolio.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Chiquita right to stand firm

20 October 2014 | Dean Best

Chiquita Brands International still appears set on its proposed merger with Fyffes – and the US produce giant is, at the moment, right to do so.... read more

M&A Watch: Emmi shareholders should consider sale

14 October 2014 | Stefan Kirk, M&A advisors Glenboden

The recent sale of Italian unit Trentinalatte confirms growth through acquisition is not something Emmi is always successful at. Would, Stefan Kirk asks, the Swiss group's shareholders consider a liquidity event that would make them a participant in European dairy consolidation, plus earn them lots of money?... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Emmi scales back in Italy's sour dairy market

6 October 2014 | Dean Best

Emmi's move to sell Italian yoghurt business Trentinalatte, announced this morning (6 October), was the latest example of the challenges facing companies doing business in the country's dairy sector.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: US health food in play - but could be pricey

11 September 2014 | Dean Best

General Mills' move for Annie's has further fuelled the belief US natural and organic food companies, including Hain Celestial and WhiteWave Foods, could become takeover targets for mainstream groups searching for growth. But the price General Mills has agreed to pay for Annie's also underlines such deals would likely be expensive.... read more

M&A Watch: Why Raisio should sell to private equity

14 August 2014 | Stefan Kirk, M&A advisors Glenboden

Raisio, the Finland-based group behind brands including Benecol, Honey Monster cereals and Fox's confectionery, has, in recent years, tried to grow via M&A. However, Stefan Kirk of M&A advisors Glenboden questions the company's strategy and believes it should be sold to a private-equity firm to unlock value.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Land of the minnows

4 August 2014 | Dean Best

Size matters, right? Scale - and the economic benefits that come with it - provide a business with clout smaller competitors find hard to battle. However, could large food companies be losing some of the advantage gained from their size?... read more

Comment: ConAgra's TaiMei buy fails to address core problems

17 July 2014 | Katy Askew

ConAgra Foods believes its latest acquisition - Chinese potato group TaiMei - will help further unlock the growth potential in its Lamb Weston unit. However, the move fails to address the issues dogging ConAgra's private-label and branded businesses and will do little to boost results in the near-term, Katy Askew suggests.... read more

Comment: Unilever's Slim-Fast sale evidence of declining diet category

11 July 2014 | Katy Askew

Unilever announced late yesterday (10 July) that it has sold its Slim-Fast diet foods business as it trims the fat from its food portfolio. The news comes as further evidence of the overall decline in the weight management foods sector in markets like the US and UK, Katy Askew suggests.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Dairy Crest's appeal may grow after deals

3 July 2014 | Dean Best

Strategically, Dairy Crest's deals with fellow UK dairy group Fayrefield Foods and New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra to serve the global infant formula market are astute moves. But the deals could also catch the eye of some of the world's larger dairy processors about Dairy Crest's new capabilities.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Domestic challenge for General Mills

26 June 2014 | Dean Best

General Mills chief Ken Powell did his best yesterday (25 June) to be positive despite a surprise fall in sales in the US food giant's fourth quarter rounding off a challenging year for the company. Powell insisted General Mills had plenty of ways to revitalise its top line but the Cheerios and Yoplait owner faces another challenging year.... read more

Comment: US food sector consolidation sees raising valuations

2 June 2014 | Katy Askew

The dramatic M&A battle being played out in the US protein space comes as fresh evidence that food companies are willing to pay top-dollar for quality businesses in a consolidating sector.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Seeing the value in being lean

29 May 2014 | Dean Best

With the bidding war for Hillshire Brands intensifying, it is pertinent to point out just how correct Sara Lee's management - and those on Wall Street that supported the split - were about the shareholder benefits of separating the old business.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Why sale the best bet for Goodman Fielder

19 May 2014 | Dean Best

For the more patriotic sections of Australia's food industry, there is likely to be some dismay at the prospect of another local food company falling into overseas ownership. But the proposed sale of Goodman Fielder, one of the country's largest food manufacturers, looks to be the right move for its shareholders - and for the business as a whole.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Consolidation in sluggish US

12 May 2014 | Dean Best

In the US, a market where volume sales have been and remain under pressure, it has been expected in certain quarters that boardrooms would increasingly run the rule over potential acquisitions. Hillshire Brands executives have moved again - this time with a major deal for Pinnacle Foods.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Using M&A for growth Stateside

22 April 2014 | Dean Best

Desperate for growth in a moribund trading environment, there are signs some food manufacturers operating in the US are using acquisitions to bolster their presence in more vibrant parts of the industry. Should others follow?... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Milking emerging market demand

31 March 2014 | Dean Best

Arla Foods, The Irish Dairy Board and Fonterra have all in the last week announced investments - or hinted at expansion to come - with growing demand for dairy products in emerging markets in mind.... read more