Under pressure from activist investors unhappy with the company’s performance, Danone has announced plans to sell its estimated $2 billion stake in China-based Mengniu Dairy. In addition, the company announced on March 2 that CEO Emmanuel Faber will step down as CEO while remaining board chairman. Those roles will now be separated to appease the activists. Faber will make the move once a new CEO is hired following a search process.
Coca-Cola Consolidated will close a distribution center in Lafayette, Indiana as part of a multi-facility consolidation into a new automated distribution center 40 miles away in Whitestown, Indiana.
Coca-Cola and Heineken have settled a distribution dispute in Brazil. The Coke bottling system in the country will continue to handle some Heineken-owned beer brands while Heineken will take back its namesake brand and Amstel. “As part of the redesign of the distribution partnership, the parties will have more flexibility,” Heineken said in a statement. That flexibility includes both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The five-year agreement takes effect in mid-2021 and can be renewed automatically for a second five-year term.
Metal and glass packaging manufacturer Ardagh Group has partnered with global investment firm Gores Group to spin off Ardagh’s metal packaging division into an independent public company on the New York Stock Exchange. The new entity, Ardagh Metal Packaging (AMP), will be worth an estimated $8.5 billion and remain a leading supplier of beverage cans focused on the Americas and Europe. Ardagh will own 80% of the new company and receive $3.4 billion in cash from transactions to be funneled through a special purpose acquisitions company (SPAC). Ardagh Metal Beverage CEO Oliver Graham will run the pure play company, which will be chaired by current Ardagh Group Chairman and CEO Paul Coulson. Ardagh Group COO Shaun Murphy will be vice chairman of the spin off. The deal seeks to capitalize on the growth in metal can usage as an “infinitely” recyclable package, the companies said.
Sweden-based oat milk maker Oatly has submitted plans for an initial public offering that could take place by this summer, Reuters reported. The company could be valued at between $5 billion and $10 billion, according to the news agency. The company’s backers include Blackstone Group, Starbucks Founder Howard Schultz and Oprah Winfrey. It is majority owned by AB InBev-linked Verlinvest.
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