Page 78 - Food&Drink magazine November-December 2022
P. 78

                 DEAL MAKERS
An acquiring mindset
From fresh produce to the freezer aisle, Kim Berry looks at some of this year’s mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures.
commitment to “high quality and environmentally sustainable food companies that prioritise Australian provenance”.
Staying plant side, Australia’s only commercial scale pulse protein extraction company Australian Plant Proteins, Thomas Foods International, and pulse and ingredient supplier AGT Foods Australia announced a joint venture to build a $378 million plant protein manufacturing hub in South Australia. It will quadruple the state’s production of pulse protein to 25,000 tonnes a year and go some way to improving supply both domestically and for export.
And Cale & Daughters, parent company of Made With Plants, PlantAsia, and Get Plant’d, announced its joint venture with one of Israel’s largest agricultural co-operatives, Vgarden. The JV will manufacture plant-based cheese and meat products. Full-scale production is expected by the end of 2023.
Halo Foods took a shine to mums with young children wanting to lose weight buying the online health and wellness company The Healthy Mummy (THM) for $17 million.
Asahi Beverages acquired the premium adult soft drink brand Strangelove. Founded in Byron Bay in 2013, Strangelove differentiated itself through eclectic flavours and branding.
Diageo acquired Mr Black, an Australian premium cold brew coffee liqueur that was launched in 2013 by designer Tom Baker and distiller Philip Moore.
HAVING barely drawn breath from the 2021 stoush between JBS Australia and Dr Andrew Forrest’s private investment fund Tattarang over Huon Aquaculture (which JBS acquired for $425 million),
a new big fish appeared on the scene.
It took three offers, but Canadian aquaculture company Cooke eventually hooked Tassal (above) for $1.7 billion. Cooke paid $5.23 per share, a 49 per cent premium on Tassal’s closing price the day before Cooke entity Amore Foods acquired a stake in the business.
Tassal chair James Fazzino said the announcement followed “a few months of constructive engagement” between the board and Cooke and managing director and CEO Mark Ryan said the acquisition would fast track its goal to be one of the world’s most transparent and sustainable protein producers.
The deal sees two of Australia’s biggest salmon producers now foreign owned.
Also scooped up by an offshore investor, Patties Foods and Vesco Foods were acquired by APAC private equity powerhouse PAG. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the companies’ combined revenue is more than $600 million. PAG Private Equity ANZ managing director Sid Khotkar said the acquisitions serve to strengthen
its presence in the region and take some of ANZ’s best-loved brands to the “next level”.
And mystery company, Aus Pie Co, bought Mrs Mac’s Pies with similar claims, saying it was “on a mission to grow this great business and brand both locally and internationally”. There was little detail about the company, but its CEO Bruce Feodoroff said the acquisition would ensure the Mrs Mac’s tradition had a “bright future”.
At the time of the announcement, on LinkedIn, Feodoroff ’s current role was CEO of Pie Face, owned by United Petroleum (UP). Feodoroff told Food & Drink Business UP was not the parent company of Aus Pie Co.
Meanwhile, Coles
Group decided to
exit the fuel and
retailing business,
selling it to Viva
Energy for $300 million.
The companies had
owned and operated 710 Coles Express branded sites in a deal set to expire in 2029. The sale will transfer Coles’ share to Viva and is expected to be completed by H2FY23. Coles CEO Steve Cain said the move would allow it to focus on its grocery and
liquor businesses and sustainability targets.
It was in 2021 that Fonterra announced it was considering offloading its Australian and South American businesses, to focus on differentiating New Zealand milk on the world stage.
It decided the Australian outfit was worth keeping, saying it played an “important role” in helping the co-op reach its 2030 targets, but sold its Chilean business – Soprole – to Gloria Foods JORB S.A. for NZ$1.055 billion.
Tattarang was still tinkering in the sector, with its agribusiness Harvest Road buying a minority stake in plant-based meat company ProForm Foods. CEO Paul Slaughter said ProForm
reflected its
RIGHT: (L-R) Strangelove’s James Bruce, Dave Temminghoff, and Asahi Beverages CEO Robert Iervasi.
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