3. A Packaged Food Giant Snaps-Up Hain Celestial
What do you do if you are General Mills (GIS), Heinz (HNZ), Campbell's (CPB), or Kellogg (K) and you are stuck with products that the future of supermarkets, Whole Foods (WFM), doesn't care for? I think you can go pay $4 billion for the $2.8 billion purveyor of all natural and organic foods that is Hain (HAIN). CEO Irwin Simon has no desire to sell but I can't say the same for the passive- but- always- one- step- from- active Carl Icahn. Hain, maker of Nature's Best, Celestial Seasonings Teas, Terra Chips, and a whole host of organic soups and juices and snacks, is the quick way for any acquirer to get the price-to-earnings multiple that has eluded it to date because its products don't pass Whole Foods muster, while Hain has become a dominant player in that growing supermarket's aisles.
I expect WFM to double in size in the next few years and it will take along any supplier that comes with it. After the run that Conagra just experienced earlier this week for paying $5 billion for Ralcorp, dropping $4 billion to buy Hain, to give you some growth and longevity in the natural food supermarkets, is worth it for the CEOs of these totally stagnant stocks, even with the admittedly horrendous dilution it would cause.
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