It has been a busy year-end for M&A reporters, as a slew of deals materialized over the weekend.
Perhaps the most notable of those deals came from Hershey (HSY) - Get Report , which will acquire Amplify for $1.6 billion. Amplify is a maker of healthy snacks, perhaps best known for brands like Skinny Pop popcorn and Paqui tortilla chips, among others.
The deal comes just a few months after Nestle purchased a 68% stake in the privately held Blue Bottle Coffee Company for $425 million in September. Nestle, which owns the highly touted Nespresso line, is looking to diversify its business. It's purchase of Amplify only underscores the company's desire to do just that.
Many may not realize that beyond chocolate, candy and coffee, Nestle owns a number of well-known, "non-guilty" food lines. Gerber, Buitoni, Stouffer's, Lean Cuisine and San Pellegrino are all under the Nestle umbrella. It also has pet foods in its business, with Friskies and Purina.
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However, Amplify is the company's first notable move into the better-for-you food group. This is a trend that was quickly noticed by PepsiCo (PEP) - Get Report years ago, as its snack and beverage lines began diversifying away from chips and soda and focusing on drinks and foods that were more appealing to consumers, particularly younger shoppers.
That's not to say Pepsi abandoned its soda and chips businesses. But rather than relying solely on them, management wanted to diversify itself. The move has paid dividends, particularly as its main competitor Coca-Cola (KO) - Get Report did not mirror PepsiCo's actions. As a result, Pepsi stock is up almost 70% over the last five years, while Coca-Cola stock is up just 23.4%.
Hershey's move into the better-for-year camp is also underscored by Campbell Soup's (CPB) - Get Report buying Snyder's-Lance (LNCE) over the weekend for $50 per share or $4.9 billion. Pretzel's, baked chips, pretzel crisps, the Late July line and more is a pretty clear diversification move away from canned soup, V8, Prego and other so-to-say pantry items.
Like PepsiCo, companies like Campbell and Hershey aren't looking to abandon the bread-and-butter businesses that carried them for decades. But they are looking at what consumers want and are looking to diversify their business models as a result.
This is just the latest example of how.
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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author had no positions in the stocks mentioned.