As the battle for supremacy on shelves and in aisles across the globe continues to grow, so does the volume of industry research and information. Read a summary review of the news, research and current thinking on issues affecting competitive advantage for Consumer Products companies.
Click here for the Quofore 2010 Industry Roundup.
Reports that the end could be nigh for Fortune Brands have cranked up the rumour mill on possible buyers for Beam Global Spirits & Wine in the last couple of days. Activist investor Bill Ackman, who has built up an 11% stake in Fortune Brands, is reportedly pushing the company to split and sell its different divisions.
If that happens, brands such as Jim Beam and Maker's Mark Bourbon, Courvoisier Cognac and Laphroaig Scotch whisky could end up as sitting ducks for industry predators. While it is likely that competition authorities would block one multi-national from sweeping up Beam Global's whole portfolio, the likes of Diageo, Bacardi and Pernod Ricard may find a way to cherry-pick what they want. It's not as if this hasn't happened before; Beam Global as we know it was essentially born out of Pernod's acquisition of Allied Domecq and the French firm's subsequent need to sell brands to a third party.
Analysts have long speculated about Fortune Brands' life expectancy. After all, golf, home hardware and alcoholic drinks are not the most obvious business divisions to house under one roof. It is early days in the Ackman saga, but we watch it with interest.
Speculation on mergers and acquisitions has regained some fizz of late. We've had Foster's Group, yet more chatter on Diageo and Moet Hennessy and we've continued to see SABMiller linked to just about everyone. Last week, it was the turn of Danone, which is reportedly mulling the sale of its water business to one of the Japanese drinks giants, possibly Kirin Holdings. However, while water has lagged behind growth in Danone's nutrition business, most analysts still think it is unlikely to sell up for the time being.
Other news last week was dominated by quarterly results. Gruppo Campari largely impressed and the Italian drinks maker said that it remains on the lookout for acquisitions. In beer, Carlsberg caused a stir when it said that raw materials costs would have a bigger effect on its business than anticipated. And, with most of the brewers' results in, we highlighted the disparity between the performances of the big players and the smaller brewers in Europe and North America.
Finally, I'm back from my week away, chasing some autumn sun. While my quest wasn't a total failure, the major upshot has been that my mo' has taken on quite a fair complexion. If you, too, are active this Movember, drop me a line to be included in our 'Rogues Gallery' of moustachioed drinks industry folk.
And, if you don't have the first clue what I am talking about, then prepare yourself for a photo later today in the blog section of me looking very Austrian.
Until next time...