Australia’s competition watchdog blocked National Australia Bank’s $13 billion agreed deal for wealth manager Axa Asia Pacific Holdings, opening the door for rival bidder AMP to make a comeback. Australia’s competition regulator defied expectations it would give conditional approval for a deal, instead issuing a flat rejection on the grounds a tie-up would hurt competition for retail investors.
Highlights from the Thomson Reuters Investment Banking Scorecard:
“Food and beverage accounts for 10% of M&A
Coca Cola’s $12.1 billion offer to purchase Coca Cola Enterprises, an Atlanta-based producer and wholesaler of bottled beverages, brings the total of M&A activity in the food and beverage sector to $32.4 billion, an increase of 257% compared to the same period in 2009.
Kraft’s acquisition of Cadbury is expected to trigger the next blockbuster sale in the global corporate bond market as the company refinances an $11.5 billion bridge loan used to temporarily fund the deal. The world’s second largest food group Kraft is expected to have no trouble drawing demand for a bond sale, thanks to its investment grade ratings. Read the Reuters story here.
The longest recession since the Great Depression has taken an exacting toll on Americans and their ability to put food on the table. Families who once considered themselves solidly middle class are now signing up for food stamps or turning to food banks to feed themselves in the face of lost jobs or cut wages.
Where does your burger come from? Journalist and food writer Michael Pollan has traced back the source of much of what we eat, and says that the ultimate answer is oil. Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, argues that it takes massive amounts of petroleum-derived fertilizers and pesticides to run industrial farms and feed lots, with dire consequences for human health and the Earth’s climate.
The world needs to spend $83 billion a year to ensure it can produce enough food amid a changing climate for its growing population by 2050, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates.
Rich countries have pledged more than $22 billion over three years to help small, impoverished farmers grow and sell more by investing in seeds, fertilizer, roads and marketing infrastructure.
Philanthropists have thrown their weight behind the goal. Bill Gates challenged research companies last week to make new technologies available to small farmers without charging them royalties. (Click on the link at the bottom to see his full speech to the World Food Prize forum.)