And the winner is…
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Tyson. Not Mike, silly! He’s busy doing movies with Bradley Cooper. I meant Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) What? You weren’t at the edge of your seat for this one? Hillshire Brands (HSH), the company behind some of the most beloved brands like Jimmy Dean Sausages and Ball Park hot dogs has, according to the corporate rumor mill anyway, accepted Tyson’s very juicy offer of $63/share which adds up to a plump $7.7 billion. Also, sort of coming out a winner is Pilgrim’s Pride (PPC), maker of Vlasic Pickles, as the company stands to gain $163 million just because Hillshire bailed on the deal it (thought) it had with the company just a few weeks back. But if you’re wondering why Tyson was so eager to get its hands on Hillshire, look no further than deli. No not New Delhi. Just deli. Prepared foods bring in lots more money than raw foods do. Tyson wants to make a name (and a few bucks) in that market and the Tyson/Hillshire combo could help nicely by bringing in sales of around $40 billion. That’s a lot to chew on.
A slice of Cupertino Apple pie…
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Now that Apple’s stock has split seven to one (meaning for every share of Apple you own, you lucky investor, you get six more!) the price of the stock is almost affordable! Just from the earth-shattering excitement of Apple’s announcement back in April that it was planning a split – the first in nine years – the stock climbed 24% on that news alone. Big riveting things are happening in Cupertino. Apple is expanding its stock buy back program, increasing its dividend program and it would be remiss not to mention the momentum from that very hip $3 billion Beats deal. Now shares are hovering above $90 a share. And to think it was just Friday when a single share fetched almost $650.
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You may not find him pushing a cart full of merchandise down the aisles of your local Family Dollar (FDO) – though the visual fills me with convulsive laughter – but billionaire Carl Icahn is very interested in the bargain-friendly establishment. Actually he has over a 9% interest in the company, causing investors to wonder if (or just assume) a takeover is impending. The company did put a “poison pill” in place which is not as scary as it sounds. Unless you’re the company adopting one. A “poison pill” or as it is less glamorously known, an anti-takeover measure, was adopted by Family Dollar because it doesn’t care to be pushed into a deal with Dollar General (DG), as many suspect Icahn and his fellow billionaire cohorts plan to do. Expect more bargain-unfriendly drama to unfold.
Food chain reaction…
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What could possibly be artificial about Panera? Well, there is that caramel color that’s used to achieve that fine hue in its roast beef. At least it’s not Subway’s yoga mat ingredient. Panera Bread becomes the latest food chain to battle GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). Unfortunately you’ll have to wait until 2016 for your Panera bread and all its accompaniments to be completely free of any dyes, sweeteners, prservatives, additives…”Panera is on a mission to help fix a broken food system,” said Scott Davis, who just happens to be Panera Chief Concept Officer. I wonder what he could do with our social security system? It seems that Panera doesn’t want to contribute to the behavioral problems of children that are apparently linked to artificial ingredients. No word yet on how much this is all going to cost but Panera’s hoping you wont mind the slight price increase too much.
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Hillshire Brands is definitely the popular kid today on Wall Street. Both Tyson and Pilgrim’s Pride are eager to scoop Hillshire, maker of the acclaimed Ball Park hot dogs. Pilgrim’s Pride offered $5 more per share than what Tyson offered. That’s corporate speak for bring it on! Both companies are looking to expand through prepared foods, of which Hillshire has aplenty. Just a few weeks ago Hillshire was set to buy Pinnacle Foods, maker of esteemed classics like Duncan Hines and the ever indominatable Mrs. Butterworths. If the Pinnacle deal falls through (and it is certainly looking that way), then Hillshire would theoretically be stuck with a $163 million termination fee. But lucky for Hillshire whoever buys it is probably going to be the one to eat that giant tab.
Vroom vroom goes the auto industry…
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Take a good look around you. Chances are you’ll see someone – maybe even someone you actually know – driving a brand new vehicle. May proved to be a very lucrative month for the auto-industry. In fact, the industry hit a nine year high. All those consumers who felt that our nasty winter made them not in the mood to get a new car are all coming out and putting an end to some of the anxiety about the industry itself. Almost every automaker saw sales increases, including GM. Yes, even GM with all its bad publicity and safety recall debacles saw a sales increase. It seems consumers still really do like GM products. Well, its SUVs and pick-up trucks anyways.