The hesitation of the food industry to engage in new merger activity was still evident in 2013 with only 311 deals, roughly the same as in 2012, according to The Food Institute’s Food Business Mergers & Acquisitions 2013.
Food processors again completed the most deals in the food industry in 2013, making up 34% of the overall industry mergers and acquisitions. The food processing category grew 27% from 2012 to 105 total deals in 2013. Within this group, dairy, meat and “other” processors saw considerable growth, with the dairy industry doubling mergers from 2012, according to the report.
Investment firms and banks were the second most active group, acquiring 47 food companies, including Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital’s purchase of H.J. Heinz Co, one of the largest food industry acquisitions ever. Another massive food industry merger came in the foodservice category: Sysco Corp.’s proposed acquisition of US Foods. This merger could mean a big change in foodservice, and represents the large impact that mergers and acquisitions can have on the industry.
The food industry mergers and acquisitions future seems to be looking up, but overall growth is uncertain. Some industries and categories have seen increases in activity, while others see just as much decline. The rise in mergers and acquisitions has still not reached levels similar to 2008 and prior years, but has been steadily increasing since the stark decline in 2009.