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Jan 19, 2017 / Richard Hall

22 acquisitions over $1 billion in 2016

Out of a record 614 food and drink transactions covered by the mergers and acquisitions database for 2016, 22 involved sums over $1,000 million. This was lower than in each of the previous 4 years, but higher than in 2011.



Sources:, Zenith Global



Sources:, Zenith Global

The $171 billion combined value of the top 10 was under half the $365 billion for the top 10 of 2015, but more than double the $68 billion for the top 10 of 2014. It should be noted that the $104 billion Anheuser-Busch InBev purchase of SABMiller was included in 2015, when it was announced, although it was completed in 2016.

The 22 over $1 billion totalled $190 billion, compared with $403 billion for the 27 over $1 billion in 2015 and $108 billion for 35 over $1 billion in 2014.

Link to database


Jan 18, 2017 / Richard Hall

Biggest buyers and sellers in 2016

Anheuser-Busch InBev, Nestlé, Emmi, Constellation Brands, Frutarom and Sazerac were the most acquisitive companies of 2016, according to the food and drink transactions database, with each responsible for 6 or more takeovers. Coca-Cola, Danone and DMK all made 5 purchases.

Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Nestlé were the only companies to agree 5 or more sales, followed by Pernod Ricard on 4, then Carlsberg and ConAgra on 3 each. Coca-Cola undertook 30 separate divestments as it accelerated its franchise restructuring.

A total of 966 companies were involved across 60 countries, with the United States and United Kingdom most prominent overall.



Sources:, Zenith Global

France was the biggest net buyer (+13), followed by Germany (+11), Japan (+10) and Switzerland (+8).

The United Kingdom was the main net seller (-21), followed by Brazil (-11), Russia (-8) and Italy (-6).

Link to database



Jan 17, 2017 / Richard Hall

614 food and drink acquisitions in 2016

2016 was another record year for food and drink industry transactions, with 614 registered in the mergers and acquisitions database, an average of almost 12 each week.

The total is 18 more than in 2015 and 32% higher than five years ago. The number has increased each year apart from a dip in 2013.



Sources:, Zenith Global

The most active sectors were soft drinks on 74, packaging on 64, dairy on 58 and ingredients on 51. Wine on 49 was ahead of spirits on 41 and beer on 37.



Sources:, Zenith Global

Soft drinks deals increased by 60% (+28), with spirits up 46% (+13) and dairy up 41% (+17), while beer activity dropped by 34% (-19). Bakery and snacks takeovers more than doubled.

Link to database

Jan 12, 2017 / Richard Hall

Online retailers top rankings

How the retailer rankings have changed.

According to the BrandZ Top 25 Most Valuable Global Retail Brands 2016/17, Walmart with annual sales of $434 billion has been overtaken by Alibaba with sales of $455 billion.  No other retailers had revenue above $120 billion, though 4 more achieved over $100 billion – Carrefour, Costco, Amazon and Kroger. 

Amazon, with sales of $104 billion, is now reckoned to be the most valuable retail brand.

Top 10 Most Valuable Retail Brands 2016/17

Rank Retail Brand

Value in $ billion

1 Amazon


2 Alibaba


3 The Home Depot


4 Walmart


5 Ikea


6 Costco


7 Lowe’s


8 Aldi




10 Ebay


The top 10 include 7 based in the United States and 3 online.


Jan 10, 2017 / Richard Hall

57 acquisitions in December

2016 ended with the usual flurry of transactions. 57 food and drink deals were recorded on the mergers and acquisitions database in December.

Less common was the number of larger purchases, with 7 over $500 million, including 5 in excess of $1,000 million:

• €7,300 million for Japan’s Asahi to buy the former SABMiller beer operations in East Europe from Anheuser-Busch InBev.

• $5,500 million for Switzerland’s Lonza to acquire US based Capsugel in biopharmaceuticals from the Kohlberg Kravis Roberts investment group.

• $3,150 million for Coca-Cola to purchase 54.5% of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa from Anheuser-Busch InBev.

• $1,130 million for Canada’s CCL Industries to take over UK-based Innovia in packaging from the Smithfield private equity business.

• $1,075 million for Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand Foods to win Bellisio Foods in the United States.

14 of the 57 total were in alcohol, 8 in soft drinks, 7 in services, 5 in ingredients and 4 in dairy.

32 were international, 25 within national borders.

23 featured the United States, 12 the United Kingdom, 9 France, 7 Switzerland, 5 Spain, 4 Belgium, 4 Japan and 3 each Brazil, Canada, Italy and the Netherlands.

Jan 5, 2017 / Richard Hall

Better packaging, less waste

If the food industry knows it, but the public doesn’t, then it may need to be communicated more effectively.

According to an article in The Economist on 17th December, around one third of all food production is wasted. That’s an enormous 1,300 million tonnes. The problems stretch from harvesting, transport and storage to shape, shelf life and excess purchase.

Packaging is a great preserver. Vacuum packaging is apparently working wonders for meat and dairy products. Sainsbury’s reduced wastage for some meat lines by half last year. Tesco has reportedly calculated that a tonne of waste generates 3.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide, while an extra tonne of packaging causes under 2 tonnes of emissions.

So, less packaging does not necessarily mean less waste.

Jan 3, 2017 / Richard Hall

World economy growth slips to 2.7%

Happy New Year. What can we expect from 2017 ?

More uncertainty is one of few certainties. A new US President this month. The beginning of Brexit by March. French Presidential elections in the spring. German federal elections and Chinese leadership restructuring in the autumn.

Most people would wish for greater stability and growth than in 2016. I repeatedly use a single line to sum up the world’s economy. It was updated in The Economist of 17th December.

Global economic growth has been slipping slowly in the past 3 years, from 3.2% at the end of 2013 to 2.7% in the third quarter of 2016.

China and India contributed 65% of this. Other emerging markets accounted for just 16%, less than at any time since 2008.

Multiple factors could lead to a further slowdown, but higher oil prices and new impetus from the United States could push growth back up towards 3%. Let’s hope so.

Dec 15, 2016 / Richard Hall

Christmas cheer from Norway

What’s the problem ? Obesity.

What’s the solution ? All round action.

Is anyone doing this ? Norway has just announced a new initiative.

Why is Norway’s solution better ?

• It involves the wider food and drink industry including producers and associations.
• It is backed by the Government.
• It involves fat and salt and sugar.
• It has set specific and demanding targets.
• It seeks to encourage healthy foods as well as discourage unhealthy choices.

I wish you all a Happy Christmas and Healthy New Year.