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2018: The Year of the Big Brand Deals

31 Dec 18:00 by Daniel Carne

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Whether it’s to increase market presence, fight off competition or simply survive, buy-outs and acquisitions have become the norm over the last decade. Not only do some of the deals impact us as consumers, but it can also significantly affect both the UK and international jobs market. 2018 has been a particularly exciting year for brands, with buyouts, acquisitions and mergers accounting for £1.9tn in the first half of the year alone. Let’s take a look... 

Supermarket sweep

March saw the completion of Tesco’s £4bn takeover of wholesaler Booker, creating a true force to be reckoned with in Britain’s £200bn-a-year food market. A deal that hasn’t been quite as straightforward is the planned mega-merger of Sainsbury’s and Asda. The latest sees a court finding that the Competition and Market Authority’s (CMA) had treated Sainsbury’s and Asda unfairly in not allowing them more time to respond to evidence submitted as part of an investigation into the proposed £12bn merger. A final ruling is expected in March 2019.

Sports Direct flashes the cash

Sports Direct bought department store chain House of Fraser for £90m and Evans Cycles as part of a pre-pack administration. While the deals have unfortunately resulted in a large number of job losses and store closures, we’re interested to see what the future holds for both of these high street staples in 2019.

Caffeine overload

It was reported in August that Coca-Cola (a brand that’s recently graced our blog) would be purchasing Costa Coffee in a £4bn deal that will turn the soft drinks giant into the UK’s biggest coffee shop player, giving it a firm foothold in one of the world’s fastest-growing drinks categories.

Getting busy with the fizzy

August brought news of another major drinks deal, this time from Coca-Cola rival Pepsi which announced it would be buying Isreal-based SodaStream for £2.5bn. The deal is said to provide Pepsi with a new way of reaching customers in their homes and has been struck at a time when its signature sugary drinks are becoming less popular, especially since the introduction of sugar tax.

Oodles of noodles

October cemented a £559m deal that saw The Restaurant Group (TRG), who owns Frankie & Benny and Garfunkel’s, purchase Wagamama. Stating that the Asian-themed restaurant had “consistently and significantly outperformed its core UK market”, TRG announced plans to expand the chain in a bid to capitalise on the trend for healthier eating.

DAN gets GEG

Just this week, it was announced that Dentsu Aegis Network had bought Kansas-based digital agency Digital Evolution Group (DEG), which will join Isobar to form DEG, Linked by Isobar. This mega merger looks to leverage DEG’s existing relationships with Salesforce, Adobe and Microsoft cloud platforms to help the newly formed agency strengthen its marketing technology capabilities.

As the UK edges closer to leaving the European Union, we’re expecting an interesting start to 2019 for some of our most recognised brands. So, stay tuned to the Henry Nicholas blog for the latest brand news, opinions and commentary.