There have been more than 550 food and drink industry transactions so far this year, according to the bevblog.net mergers and acquisitions database.
FoodBev will report the final figure early in January but the total number could easily overtake the 589 acquisitions experienced in the whole of 2015.
The 553 acquisitions observed in the 50 weeks to 16 December represent a rate of 11.05 per week.
‘No shortage of big business’
There was no shortage of big business; the largest deal by far was $66 billion for Germany’s Bayer to buy US-based Monsanto with interests in agribusiness and ingredients, followed by ChemChina’s $43.8 billion purchase of Switzerland’s Syngenta agribusiness.
They may not have the glamour of AB-SABMiller or Ball-Rexam, but between them they were worth more than the annual economic output of Morocco.
Other big deals included the $9.95 billion deal for Coca-Cola East Japan and Coca-Cola West to merge, the $3.42 billion paid by Luxembourg-based Ardagh for selected can manufacturing facilities of US-based Ball Corporation, and the $17 billion sales for the US alcohol distribution merger of Southern Wine & Spirits with Glazer’s.
In total, there were 16 acquisitions worth more than $1 billion between 1 January and 16 December – most coming at the beginning and end of the year.
And since 16 December, there has been another billion-dollar deal that would have made it into this group, and that will be reflected in January’s full-year figures.
That was Coca-Cola’s $3.15 billion agreement to take over Anheuser-Busch’s stake in its bottling operation in 15 African countries, as well as El Salvador and Honduras.
The territory will only be held by Coca-Cola temporarily, as it looks to refranchise the rights to a new bottling partner as soon as possible.
Announced just in time for the end of the year, it was 2016’s sixth largest transaction in value terms.
Some of the more headline-grabbing deals included the €2.55 billion that Japan’s Asahi paid for the Grolsch, Meantime and Peroni brands of beer, as well as JAB Holdings’ $1.35 billion acquisition of Krispy Kreme.
‘A real mixed picture’
Category by category, it was a real mixed picture. Among the most active sectors were alcohol, packaging and ingredients – though the number of acquisitions here fell on last year – as well as bakery, dairy and soft drinks, which were all up.
US businesses took part in more than 250 transactions – more than from any other nation.
This was followed by the UK with 118 transactions, France on 29, and Germany and the Netherlands on 19 apiece.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020