And the winner is…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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…

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

Bargain hunter…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

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Panera Is Going Au Natural, Pilgrim’s Pride Is Throwing Down the Poultry Gauntlet and You Auto Know

Food chain reaction…

Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

Talking poultry?

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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…

Image courtesy of bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

Who’re You Calling Chicken? “X” Marks the $10 Million Spot and Burgers and Lattes and Beer, Oh My

Appetizing mergers…

Image courtesy of debspoons/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of debspoons/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There’s been a lot of talk of pilgrims today even though Thanksgiving is still six months away. That’s because food corporation Pilgrim’s Pride, a Colorado based company that sells chicken products made a very meaty offer to buy Hillshire Farms for about $6 billion. Just a couple of weeks ago, Hillshire Farms, the company behind Jimmy Dean Sausages and the ubiquitously advertised Ball Park hot dogs announced similar plans of its own to buy Pinnacle Foods from Blackstone Group LLP. But my how the (dinner) tables have turned and Pilgrim’s Pride said that unless Hillshire chucks its plans to buy Pinnacle, then it can keep its sausages. However, if Hillshire does indeed decide to go ahead and eat up Pilgrim’s Pride offer, then the poultry product producer will fork over $163 million to pay Pinnacle Foods’ termination fee.

Ahoy Amazon…

Image courtesy of Pong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Pong/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you thought buried treasure is just for movies these days, then you might want to check out Amazon (after you finish reading this blog, of course). Tonight 1,400 19th century coins are being auctioned off on the site. The coins were discovered by a couple who were out walking their dog on their own property. While there was no “X” marking any spot, there was a suspicious looking canister making its way out of the ground. All the coins of $5, $10 and $20 denominations are, at face value, worth about $28,000. But because the coins, dated from 1847-1890 are rare, old and in “mint” condition –  the coins are set to fetch about $10 million. And no you can’t go digging in other people’s property.

Lattes and burgers? Be still my beating heart…

Image courtesy of KEKO64/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of KEKO64/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you’re jonesing for a burger to complement your mocha chai latte ( I don’t even know if that’s a real thing) then Starbucks might just have the solution. The Seattle based coffee mega chain is buzzing with plans to open a La Boulange eatery in Los Angeles. Starbucks picked up the bakery chain almost a year ago for $100 million. The last time Starbucks tried to enter the gourmet food arena, customers weren’t exactly eating it up. This particular establishment, however, set to open June 11, lets customers build their own burgers and it’s offering alcohol. Sounds like a win-win to me.