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   Strategies & Market TrendsSpeculating in Takeover Targets

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To: richardred who wrote (3638)9/9/2014 11:03:18 AM
From: richardred
   of 7071
FWIW-Todays acquisition of Annie's adds to the speculative appeal of LNCE.

General Mills to Buy Annie’s for $820 Million in Cash
By WILLIAM ALDEN September 8, 2014 5:41 pmSeptember 9, 2014 9:38 am


Annie's was founded in 1989 and went public in 2012.Credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Updated, 6:49 p.m. | Annie’s Homegrown, the organic food company known for its mac and cheese and earthy vibe, is joining the General Mills empire.

General Mills, whose stable of brands includes Pillsbury, Cheerios, Haagen-Dazs and Nature Valley, said on Monday that it had agreed to buy Annie’s for about $820 million in cash, in a bet on shoppers’ continued demand for natural and organic foods.

The price of $46 a share is a 51 percent premium over Annie’s 30-day average closing price as of Friday, Annie’s said. General Mills plans to finance the deal through borrowing. Analysts had speculated this summer that Annie’s could be acquired.

Shares of Annie’s shot up about 37 percent in trading after the stock market closed on Monday after closing at $33.51.

The deal shows how big food companies are willing to pay up for brands that are seen as homespun and healthful. Last year alone, Campbell Soup bought the baby food maker Plum Organics and WhiteWave, a dairy company that spun off from Dean Foods, agreed to pay $600 million for the organic produce grower Earthbound Farm.

Annie’s, whose logo is a smiling bunny, makes a line of mac and cheese products as well as pizzas, salad dressings, crackers and other snacks. The company, which was founded in 1989, went public in 2012 after being acquired by the private equity firm Solera Capital.

“Consumers know and trust Annie’s purpose-driven culture and authentic brand,” Jeff Harmening, the chief operating officer for General Mills United States retail business, said in a statement. “We believe that combining the Annie’s product portfolio and go-to-market capabilities with General Mills’ supply chain, sales and marketing resources will accelerate the growth of our organic and natural foods business.”

News of the deal sparked an immediate uproar on the Annie’s Facebook page. Fans of the company expressed dismay, noting that General Mills has opposed state-level efforts to label genetically modified foods, while Annie’s has pushed for tougher labeling requirements.

“Congrats Annie’s! You have just lost thousands of customers!” read one comment. “It’s too bad you’ve decided to merge with a big corporation who cares more about their bottom line and not the customer,” said another.

Annie’s emphasized that it would stay true to its values of healthy food and an environmentally conscious business. And it said it would continue to be based in Berkeley, Calif.

“Powerful consumer shifts toward products with simple, organic and natural ingredients from companies that share consumers’ core values show no signs of letting up,” John Foraker, the chief executive of Annie’s, said in a statement. “Partnering with a company of General Mills’ scale and resources will strengthen our position at the forefront of this trend.”

General Mills plans to initiate a tender offer within 10 business days for Annie’s shares. The deal, subject to a majority of the shares being tendered and to regulatory approval, is expected to close later this year.

JPMorgan Securities and the law firm Proskauer Rose advised Annie’s.

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To: richardred who wrote (3756)9/9/2014 11:45:02 AM
From: richardred
   of 7071
General Mills is paying about 4X sales which seem rather costly compared to B&G foods last years acquisition of Pirates Booty. I had discussion with someone else that Coke might make a good candidate
for LNCE.

P.S. Pirates Booty we buy all the time. It's my Granddaughters favorite snack.


Pickles and Cheese Puffs? B&G Snags Pirate's Booty

David Benoit

Updated June 11, 2013 3:05 p.m. ET
B&G Foods Inc. BGS -3.64% is putting its treasure into pirates.

The grocery-brand conglomerate is paying $195 million to buy the maker of Pirate's Booty, a popular rice and corn snack flavored with cheddar cheese.

B&G Foods—the owner of Grandma's Molasses, Ortega taco ingredients, Cream of Wheat and its namesake pickles, among other grocery brands—has been branching into the snack aisle.

Pirate Brands

In the past year B&G bought New York Style bagel crisps and Old London crackers as well as TrueNorth nut clusters.

CEO David Wenner told analysts on a conference call that the Pirate Brands acquisition was richer than the typical B&G deal, but he said Pirate's Booty was going to expand the company's offerings and its growth rate.

He added that he hoped that it would "broaden our appeal as a stock."

Shares rose 6.8% to $31.17 on Monday on the Big Board.

Pirate's Booty is currently owned by financial backers VMG Partners and Driven Capital Management as well as Robert Ehrlich, who founded the business in 1987.

B&G expects Pirate Brands to generate $80 million to $90 million in annual sales once the business is fully integrated.

Mr. Wenner said Pirate's Booty had been growing at double-digit rates in recent years. And despite its high valuation, the deal would still be cash-flow accretive on closing, which it expects next month, he said.

B&G's annual sales totaled $633.8 million last year.

With flavors including "Barrrrrbeque," Pirate's Booty is marketed toward children, not the main audience for a company that makes condiments, canned beans and seasonings.

Still, Mr. Wenner said he believed the all-natural and healthy-snack aspects of the brand is particularly relevant to today's consumer.

"The brand is oriented toward kids to a great degree but kids are certainly not the only users," Wenner said. "The fact that it is in the house tends to mean everybody is eating the product."

Mr. Wenner said B&G saw opportunities for expanding flavors, as the majority of sales are white cheddar, and that in general B&G is looking at snack foods as a way to boost its growth.

"We understand that snacks, by definition almost, is a higher-growth business that we need to think about differently than we do most of our businesses," Mr. Wenner said.

Write to David Benoit at

Corrections & Amplifications
Pirate Brands calls its snack products all-natural. An earlier version of this article incorrectly characterized the products as organic.

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To: richardred who wrote (3756)9/9/2014 11:56:51 AM
From: Ahda
   of 7071
News of the deal sparked an immediate uproar on the Annie’s Facebook page. Fans of the company expressed dismay, noting that General Mills has opposed state-level efforts to label genetically modified foods, while Annie’s has pushed for tougher labeling requirements.

I tend to think that if I own you and you give me grief I can eliminate the cause of my grief by down sizing and keeping my costs in tow.

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To: Ahda who wrote (3758)9/9/2014 12:34:23 PM
From: richardred
   of 7071
I remember the outcry when Ben & Jerry's sold out. Things have calmed down now. Culture clashes have been big problems in many past mergers.

P.S. When our company did Ice cream pint containers. I actually ran some of their container blanks for their ice cream cartons on my press.

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To: richardred who wrote (3759)9/9/2014 1:04:55 PM
From: Ahda
   of 7071
Inventory causing a storage problem?

/01/14 3:35 PM EDT

An internal battle between Unilever and subsidiary Ben & Jerry's may be forming, sparked by the debate about labeling food made with ingredients from genetically modified organisms. Unilever has opposed state-by-state GMO labeling laws, supporting campaigns aimed at defeating an initiative in California, while Ben & Jerry's has been an open proponent of such laws in its headquarters' state of Vermont. Erin Lash, senior equity analyst at Morningstar, says she doesn't expect Unilever's stance on the issue to negatively impact the company and she doesn't believe it will changing its position anytime soon.

Stock quotes in this video: UL, UN, MORN

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To: Ahda who wrote (3760)9/9/2014 1:49:59 PM
From: richardred
   of 7071
It's all Monsanto's fault. <G>

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To: richardred who wrote (3650)9/10/2014 10:45:58 AM
From: richardred
   of 7071
IMO-this deal can only help the speculative appeal of CNVR formerly VCLK-Value Click.

Message 29186334

Japan's Rakuten to buy cash-back site Ebates for $1 billion

Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani announces the deal for San Francisco rebates website Ebates in Tokyo. (Noriyuki Aida / Bloomberg News)

By Chad Garland

Business Mergers, Acquisitions and Takeovers Consumer Goods Industries

Rakuten Inc. is buying Ebates Inc. of San Francisco for $1 billion in cash, expanding the Japanese e-commerce company’s global reach.

Rakuten, the top Internet retailer in Japan, said it “aims to create the world’s largest product lineup ranging from niche to luxury products,” and will use Ebates to offer points rewards and cash back on its various partner sites.

More than 2,600 merchants and service providers, including Alaska Airlines, Gap and Target, pay Ebates to advertise their products on its membership-based websites in the U.S., Canada, South Korea and China.

Members who make certain online purchases can then qualify for cash-back incentives. The company also operates and, which offer coupons, discounts, rebates and other online savings deals.

Ebates is a privately held business founded by two lawyers in 1998 and backed by venture capital firms August Capital, Canaan Partners and Foundation Capital. Rakuten said it plans to buy all 32.852 million shares of Ebates’ voting stock in the deal.

Rakuten said Ebates has 2.5 million active members who are increasing their shopping activity. It also said members spent $2.2 billion on Ebates sites last year, generating a profit of $13.7 million on revenue of $167.4 million in fiscal 2013.

Kevin Johnson, chief executive of Ebates, said the company was preparing to go public when Rakuten proposed the acquisition. He said joining forces “was actually a pretty easy decision for us.”

“E-commerce is more competitive all the time, especially internationally,” Johnson said. “We’d much rather compete with a partner like Rakuten than on our own.”

Like Ebates, Rakuten operates membership-based shopping platforms with a loyalty rewards program. Its businesses also include travel and hotel booking sites, online financial services and digital content providers.

The company’s portfolio also extends beyond online services and includes a professional baseball team.

Founded by Hiroshi Mikitani in 1997, Rakuten launched its online shopping mall Rakuten Ichiba with six employees and 13 merchants.

The company made its first investment in the U.S. in 2005 with the purchase of the online marketing firm LinkShare Corp. of New York.

Rakuten began expanding its online shopping business outside Japan in 2008 and in 2010 acquired U.S. e-commerce site

Among Rakuten’s global acquisitions in recent years are a Canadian ebook company and a video-on-demand provider in Spain. It also led a $100-million funding round for the online bulletin board Pinterest in 2012.

Forbes lists Mikitani, a Harvard MBA, as Japan's fourth-richest person, with net worth of about $7.7 billion.

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To: richardred who wrote (3762)9/12/2014 2:41:47 AM
From: richardred
   of 7071
Bullseye- Second of the year. :+ ) I wonder why Yahoo took down my post on the CNVR board yesterday?

An acquisition that is possibly going to add 50 cents a shares next year by the acquiring company. IMO should be worthy of a White Knight. Holding

Conversant's shares soar after buyout deal with Alliance Data Systems

Published: Sept 11, 2014 4:56 p.m. ET

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Shares of Conversant CNVR, +0.15% soared 32% in after-hours trade Thursday, after Alliance Data Systems ADS, -2.45% announced an agreement to buy the digital marketing company in a cash and stock deal valued at $2.3 billion. The per-share offer price of $35 represents a 31% premium to where Conversant shares last traded during Thursday's regular session, at $26.71, before they were halted at 3:40 p.m. Eastern. It also matches the all-time closing high of $35 hit on May 22, 2007. Alliance Data said it expects the acquisition to add 50 cents a share to earnings in the first year, and 75 cents a share to earnings in the second year, after the merger is completed. Alliance Data shares rallied 3.6% in after-hours trade.

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To: richardred who wrote (3631)9/12/2014 11:50:45 AM
From: richardred
   of 7071
New buy today to add to an existing position - CPIX-Cumberland Pharmaceuticals

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To: richardred who wrote (3763)9/12/2014 12:09:45 PM
From: richardred
   of 7071
Possible White Knight for CNVR?

What might Twitter do with $1.3 billion in cash?

Published: Sept 11, 2014 5:06 p.m. ET

Debt offering could fuel further M&A in advertising technologies

AFP/Getty Images
Twitter continues to scoop up startups to expand its ad platform



NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — For the first time since its stock-market debut in November, Twitter is raising money to support its growth.

The San Francisco–based company said Wednesday it is looking to raise as much as $1.3 billion through the sale of debt, taking advantage of historically low interest rates to capture a trove of relatively cheap cash. That sum would increase Twitter’s TWTR, -0.28% cash on hand to $3.5 billion — its highest level ever. In 2012, it boasted $2.2 billion in cash and short-term investments, up from $550 million in 2011.

So, what does this company have up its sleeve?

Companies typically pledge to spend the proceeds of their debt and equity offerings on “general corporate purposes,” but Robert Peck, managing director of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, said Twitter likely has “more strategic uses for the proceeds.”

TimeTwitter Inc.Apr 14May 14Jun 14Jul 14Aug 14Sep 14



Those uses are likely to include M&A in such areas as video, advertising and analytics, as the company, which went public 10 months ago and remains unprofitable, looks to boost top- and bottom-line growth through advertising and content partnerships.

One idea is that Twitter, already a widely relied-upon news-gathering tool, could acquire Flipboard, a collection and curation app that boasts millions of users. Flipboard — which shares key investors to Twitter such as Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Goldman Sachs GS, +1.01% and Rizvi Traverse Management — might help monetize Twitter’s “offline” reach into categories of people who view its content without encountering its ads, Peck said. Twitter has estimated the number of offline users at two to three times its base of 271 million monthly active users.

While a Flipboard buy is purely hypothetical, Peck said it represents a potential acquisition target that would “make sense” for Twitter. Flipboard was valued at $800 million in its most recent funding round in September 2013.

Another possible scenario is that Twitter opts to sit on the cash to optimize its flexibility, enabling it to cultivate a long-term growth strategy and execute smaller-scale deals as they present themselves.

Twitter has already used a chunk of the $1.8 billion in proceeds from its initial public offering to scoop up companies for its advertising business, including the takeover of mobile-ad retargeting startup TapCommerce in June. Re/code put an estimated price tag of $100 million on that deal.

See the chart below for a list of Twitter’s acquisitions since its IPO.

Such deals have led to improvements in Twitter’s ad platform, expanding top-line growth. In June, Twitter reported a 124% increase in second-quarter sales to $312 million, largely due to a 129% increase to $277 million in ad revenue — its highest rate of year-over-year advertising growth in six quarters. (Deep Dive: Twitter needs to treat shareholders the way Facebook does.)

Of course, Twitter has no obligation to spend all the money it rakes in, and its debt offering isn’t out of the ordinary, as it joins a number of technology-industry peers, including Google GOOGL, -0.78% and eBay EBAY, +2.62% in raising money in this fashion in 2014 alone.

Twitter declined to comment further on the debt sale or prospective uses for the proceeds.

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