Sunday, February 24, 2013

Buffett: Wake Up and Smell the Ketchup!

Reuters’ Martinne Geller writes: The $23 billion buyout of H.J. Heinz by Warren Buffett and private equity put food executives on notice: start showing better results or risk being left behind. The deal, and the ripples it creates in the sector, was the buzz of the consumer industry's annual get-together in Florida this week, sponsored by the Consumer Analyst Group of New York.

In private discussions overlooking a yacht-filled marina or in the hallway between the Nespresso table and the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, the consensus among executives, analysts and investors was clear: gear up for a new era of belt-tightening, if not more acquisitions and divestitures, in the sector.

"This is the first large deal in years by a financial buyer that calls out the lackluster fundamentals in the U.S. packaged food space," said Robert Dickerson, an analyst with boutique firm Consumer Edge Research….

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