FoodBev Media’s Sian Yates rounds up this week’s food and beverage news, including:
Aldi to acquire Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket
Aldi has agreed to acquire Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket as part of a larger divestiture of US supermarket portfolio Southeastern Grocers to various entities.
The acquisition – which includes 400 Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket locations – will expand Aldi’s growth and ability to serve the region. The stores are located in the southeastern US states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Jason Hart, CEO of Aldi, said: “Like Aldi, Winn-Dixie and Harveys Supermarket have long histories and many loyal customers in the Southeast and we look forward to serving them in the years to come. The time was right to build on our growth momentum and help residents in the Southeast save on their grocery bills. The transaction supports our long-term growth strategy across the United States, including plans to add 120 new stores nationwide this year to reach a total of more than 2,400 stores by year-end.”
Bacardi labelled “international war sponsor” as Russian business operations continue
The National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) has regarded Bermudian company Bacardi in a list of “international war sponsors” after continuing business operations in Russia.
The NACP is a central executive body responsible for developing anti-corruption policies and preventing corruption in Ukraine.
It stated that Bacardi has continued business operations in the Russian Federation and is actively seeking employees there.
Tyson Foods to sell China poultry business
Tyson Foods plans to sell its China poultry business, three people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The company has reportedly hired Goldman Sachs to advise on the sale and sent preliminary information to potential buyers including a number of private equity firms, however, the sale process was said to be at an early stage.
It is unclear what valuation Tyson Foods is seeking for the business, but one of the insiders told Reuters that the China poultry division has annual sales of about $1.1 billion.
Bazooka Candy Brands to be sold in $700m deal
Michael Eisner, former Disney CEO and owner of Bazooka, has agreed to sell the company to private equity firm Apax Partners for $700 million, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Eisner’s private investment firm Tornante – and private equity group Madison Dearborn Partners – acquired the confectionery company, and its now-separated trading card arm Topps, for $385 million in 2007.
In 2021, Madison Dearborn and Tornante agreed to take the company via SPAC at a $1.3 billion valuation, at which point it still included the Topps trading cards business. The deal was killed when Topps lost its exclusive licensing deal with Major League Baseball to Fanatics.
Kraft Heinz appoints Carlos Abrams-Rivera as next CEO
The Kraft Heinz Company has appointed Carlos Abrams-Rivera as chief executive officer and a member of the board, effective 1 January 2024.
He will take over as CEO from Miguel Patricio, who has served as the company’s chief executive since 2019 and chair of the board since 2022. Patricio will transition to the role of non-executive chair of the board on 1 January 2024.
In the meantime, Abrams-Rivera will continue in his role as president of the North America zone with the added responsibilities of becoming president of Kraft Heinz, effective immediately.
Pernod Ricard debuts new bourbon whiskey brand
Mary Dowling Whiskey Company, a joint venture with Pernod Ricard and Rabbit Hole distillery founder Kaveh Zamanian, has announced the debut of a new bourbon product range.
Pernod Ricard and Zamanian’s collaboration dates back to 2019, when the French company acquired a majority share in the Kentucky distillery.
According to the brand, Mary Dowling was the most influential female “in the male-dominated world of pre-prohibition bourbon”. She was known as the “mother of bourbon”.
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