Business Leaders' Forum

How to spot a good food industry merger or acquisition

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Business leaders Chief operating officer Mergers and acquisitions

“The key driver should be the future integration of the business to add value to the whole,” Ben Mercer, partner corporate with the law firm, told the Food Manufacture Group’s Business Leaders’ Forum in London last week.

In this exclusive video, Mercer told this website that Greencore’s acquisition of Uniq was an example of well-planned and well-executed acquisition, where the value of the buyer’s shares had climbed considerably after the purchase.

Geoff Eaton, former boss of Uniq and Premier Foods’s former chief operating officer, told the forum: “There are lots of examples of really good acquisitions​. But I’m afraid there are far too many examples of ego-fuelled deals, driven by debt.”

Premier Foods

Speaking before Premier Foods’s joint venture​ with Gores Group to manage the Hovis bread and flour business, Mercer predicted strong potential for mergers in growth categories and brands this year.

His colleague Andrew McLean, partner with the law firm, said there were fewer mergers and acquisitions than expected last year. But, as predicted at last year’s Business Leaders’ Forum​, buyers from Japan, China and the US were active in making purchases.

Read more on Mercer’s predictions for mergers and acquistions activity for 2014 here​.

The Business Leaders’ Forum – chaired by Thorntons’ chairman Paul Wilkinson​ – was staged in association with Stephenson Harwood and sponsored by Agrantec, Intertek, Tata Consultancy, plus insurance firm Aon, Columbus IT and NSF International.  

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