Source: Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
The M&A rumour-mill kicked in – yet again – last week: This time, it was brewers brewing.
After selling off its Central and Eastern Europe brewing assets to private equity group CVC for an initial US$2.2bn in 2009, rumour had it that Anheuser-Busch InBev was looking to buy back the operations, now called StarBev.
Here at just-drinks, we get very suspicious about such speculation, usually sourced to people “close to the situation”. This usually means unnamed banking figures who are poised to gain rather handsomely from such a transaction, should it happen.
That's not to say that StarBev and CVC are totally innocent: After all, as deputy editor Chris Mercer puts it, it's always good to know that someone wants a piece of your bottom.
The other big story last week came when Pernod Ricard's CEO, Pierre Pringuet, told journalists in London that he is unhappy with the performance of Havana Club in the company's first half. A turnaround is not far off, he maintained. Seeing as he blamed the tough economic conditions in two of Havana Clubs main markets, Italy and Spain, for the flat performance, I'd say Havana Club may take longer to turn around than Pringuet hopes.
Last week saw the analyst community (I'm still no clearer on the collective noun for analysts) congregate in Florida for the confusingly-named 'Consumer Analyst Group of New York' conference. While we were unable to spring the air-fare, just-drinks (and our sister-site, just-food) eavesdropped the best we could. Click here for the round-up of our coverage of the two-day conference.
Next month, we will be out in force at the 'Consumer Analyst Group of Europe' meet-up, here in London. We hope to see you there.
Finally, it was around this time last week that we learned of the sad, sudden loss of one of our peers, Alan Lodge.
He is sorely missed.