Mergers and acquisitions — trends in the food and beverage sector

By Craig Hodgson

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in 2013 in the food and beverage sector followed 2012 as another year of high-profile transactions, although, at least in the UK, on a reduced scale. According to a report by Oghma Partners, the numbers of transactions fell from 87 in 2012 to 76 in 2013, with overseas buyers accounting for 25 per cent of all transactions. M&A activity in 2013 displayed similar themes to those shown in 2012, being driven at least in part by an appetite for brands from private equity funds and trade buyers, especially from the Far East.

As a firm, we experienced first hand the interest from the Far East for heritage brands when we acted for management on the sale of a stake in Weetabix to Bright Food of China. In 2013, UK heritage brands, in particular, have once again attracted interest from Far Eastern manufacturers. Suntory Group purchased Ribena and Lucozade for £1.35bn — the largest deal in the sector in the UK in 2013 — and showed again the international appeal of UK heritage brands.

By exploiting acquired brands, international owners aim to leverage additional sales among the expanding and increasingly affluent middle classes in developing markets — thereby growing visibility, marketability and sales. But some peculiar issues are emerging in relation to these overseas acquisitions of well-known UK brands, such as increasing levels of resistance from domestic politicians, consumers, industry commentators and in some cases regulators, who are concerned about the loss of know-how, local decision making, heritage and, potentially, jobs…

If you are registered and logged in to the site, click on the link below to read the rest of the Mills & Reeve briefing. If not, please register or sign in with your details below.

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in

Register

It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer

 

Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.

 

Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.

 

Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.

Overview

Fountain House
130 Fenchurch Street
London
EC3M 5DJ
UK

Turnover (£m): 79.50
No. of lawyers: 367