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Mergers and acquisitions

Note from the editor

Mergers and acquisitions remain popular in the food and beverage space, but increasingly many deals are taking on a different look.

After years of multibillion-dollar megadeals, food and beverage companies remain active in M&A, but are turning to bite-sized acquisitions to help them grow. At the same time, CPGs are pruning and divesting slow-growing divisions or brands, and then using the cash they receive from their sale to purchase companies in trendier areas like snacking or plant based, invest in their core operations or improve their balance sheets.

The M&A transactions not only include the traditional deals between two large CPGs, but increasingly have spilled over into companies going public through non-traditional routes. Snackmaker Utz entered the public markets through a blank-check company — an investment vehicle created by an entity raising funds with the goal of merging or acquiring another business. Indoor greenhouse operator AppHavest is expected to do the same early this year.

As large businesses shed assets, founders and CEOs who once ran these brands before they were sold to the bigger food or beverage companies have reacquired them. In just the last year, Krave jerky, Zico coconut water and Uncle Matt's Organic have taken this path. With M&A a key tool for many CEOs to reshape and grow their companies, deal making among food and beverage firms is unlikely to slowdown anytime soon.  

In this report, you'll find stories that include:

  • How food manufacturers are overhauling their portfolios in a bid to spur growth
  • Private equity firm Sonoma Brands' search for new deals
  • Diageo's pursuit of a premium portfolio through M&A
  • 3D-printed cultured meat company Meat-Tech 3D entrance into the public markets 
  • The outlook for how CPGs will reshape their product offerings in 2021

These are just a few of the many issues impacting M&A in the food and beverage sector. We hope you enjoy this deep dive into this current trend.

Christopher Doering Senior Reporter

Getting acquired in a 'snack-eat-snack' market

Small food companies often form in hopes of acquisition by giants like Hershey or Mondelez. How can CFOs best help their companies prepare for such large-scale acquisitions?

Food manufacturers overhaul portfolios in bid to spur growth

​After years of multibillion dollar deals, companies like Conagra and General Mills are focusing on acquiring smaller, trendier brands and selling divisions that don't meaningfully boost sales.

CPG portfolio reshaping will accelerate in 2021, analysts predict

Diageo's growth plans: More premium brands and diversity in leadership

Why the founder of Uncle Matt's Organic bought the company back from Dean Foods

After selling the beverage brand in 2017, Matt McLean repurchased his family business for about $7.25 million when the milk giant went bankrupt.

AppHarvest to go public through merger valuing company at $1B

Private equity firm Sonoma Brands remains 'active' in search for new deals

The investment firm, founded by Krave founder Jon Sebastiani, owns or has minority stakes in more than a dozen companies including Hu, Dang and Smashmallow.

Meat-Tech 3D expands cultured meat with printed tissue and acquisition

The publicly traded company based in Israel has its eyes on bringing technology to make 3D-printed cell-based meat available to the world as quickly as possible.

Everything you need to know about M&A in the food industry

Mergers and acquisitions remain popular in the food and beverage space, but increasingly many deals are taking on a different look. After years of multibillion-dollar megadeals, food and beverage companies remain active in M&A, but are turning to bite-sized acquisitions to help them grow.

included in this trendline
  • How food manufacturers are overhauling their portfolios in a bid to spur growth
  • Diageo's pursuit of a premium portfolio through M&A
  • The outlook for how CPGs will reshape their product offerings in 2021
Our Trendlines go deep on the biggest trends. These special reports, produced by our team of award-winning journalists, help business leaders understand how their industries are changing.
Davide Savenije Editor-in-Chief at Industry Dive.