Unstructured Finance

Simply, Buffett

Warren BuffettWhat’s one of Warren Buffett’s advantages in this environment, when credit is tight, markets are in disarray and deals are so difficult to do?

Simplicity, apparently.

The famed investor gave a financing commitment letter that was just two-and-a-half pages long in the Mars-Wrigley deal, said Timothy Ingrassia, Goldman Sachs’s head of mergers in Americas.

Compare that to deal contracts that average about 90 pages these days and commitment papers that run into hundreds of pages, Ingrassia said during a panel discussion at a Practising Law Institute seminar on M&A in New York.

Chicago-based Wrigley agreed to be acquired by Mars in April. Buffett helped to finance the deal. When it announced the deal, Mars said other financing would be provided by Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.

(Photo: Warren Buffett, REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

When the going gets tough, men go for chocolate

Seems like the business men who are dealing with the market fallout may be learning something from the fairer sex when it comes using food to boost their mood.

According to a Brand Keys survey, men are reaching for chocolate bars more frequently these days. Every one of the 750 men in the survey, taken Friday through Sunday, said they were eating more chocolate.

“There’s so little that one can actually do about the economy and people are feeling so disconnected from the problems and the solutions that it was just interesting to see how consumers were reacting,” said Robert Passikoff, president of customer loyalty firm Brand Keys. “Buying a candy bar is in fact something they can do.”

The “M” must stand for Money

m.jpgWalk down the chocolate aisle in a grocery store, and the premium names leap out at you: Lindt, Ghirardelli, M&M’s.
That’s right, M&M’s. Mars Snackfood U.S. is using the M&M’s brand — a well-known mass candy brand — to launch a new entry in the fast-growing premium chocolate market.
Dove is usually the Mars brand most associated with premium chocolate. M&M’s are more known as the candy that doesn’t get kids’ hands messy, because it melts in their mouths.
But Mars said that this summer it is launching M&M’s Premiums, a take on traditional M&M’s with a thinner candy shell and flavors like mocha and raspberry almond … not exactly kid’s stuff.
The price isn’t exactly for kids, either. A six-ounce package will be priced at $3.99, or 66.5 cents an ounce. In contrast, a 1.69-ounce bag of standard M&M’s costs 79 cents, or 46.7 cents an ounce, according to Mars.
The premium chocolate segment has well outpaced growth in regular chocolate in the United States.
But tell us, is a premium M&M what you are looking for?
And speaking of what consumers may or may not be looking for, how about chewing gum made with tree bark extract.
Wrigley, which is being bought by Mars, is including magnolia bark extract in its Eclipse gum and mint, which Wrigley says kills the germs that cause bad breath. Twelve pellets of the gum will be priced at $1.09.

(Reuters photo of M&M’s, the old school version)