On just-drinks last week:
- M&A hogged the headlines, with the biggest story dropping early on Friday morning. Much as the move was a formality by the end, Heineken will still be breathing a sigh of relief that its pursuit of Asia Pacific Breweries got Fraser & Neave's approval late last week. And, while the Dutch brewer will be glad to see the end of the long-running saga, I can't help thinking it has learnt some valuable lessons in the last few months.
- Also in the M&A arena, Diageo confirmed what everyone already knew; that it is in talks with India's UB Group over taking a stake in United Spirits. Again, my timing couldn't be better: the day before, I mulled out loud what any prospective bunk-up between Diageo and United Spirits could mean for the future of the latter's Whyte & Mackay division.
- Most of the UK's wine media descended on Cape Town last week for Cape Wine 2012, the three-day exhibition of all things South African. just-drinks was also in tow, with deputy editor James Wilmore noting an up-beat tone in the hall.
- In soft drinks, Coca-Cola Co toasted the completion of its move for the other half of the soft drinks business of Aujan Industries. The firm has had to wait quite a while to close the deal, but will now be looking for great things from the Middle East's juice sector.
- Finally, a quick heads-up: Our friends at the International Center for Alcohol Policies – you may have seen their regular monthly updates on just-drinks – are set to hold their international, two-day conference in Washington DC next week. The event, which looks at global initiatives to reduce harmful drinking, will interest all of you in the alcoholic drinks categories. just-drinks will be at the conference, so if you'd like to meet up, then drop me a line.