A Sweet Acquisition in the Works?

You’ve got to give credit to Warren Buffett for a good turn of phrase. While sourcing this quote is a bit tough, America’s most famous investor is credited with saying, “When people are greedy, be nervous. When people are nervous, be greedy.” Companies that apply this logic often look at unstable economic times as an opportunity to make bold moves.

Today’s headlines indicate that Kraft Foods is one such company looking to make a move. In an acquisition attempt that’s on par with a lunar eclipse in terms of size, the food giant is bidding to take over British confectioner Cadbury. According to a company profile, Kraft is the second largest food company in the world and the largest in the United States. If you didn’t bother to click on the link in the previous sentence, go back and take a look at the brands Kraft controls. Stunning isn’t it? How much of your grocery cart is devoted to Kraft products? If you’re a parent, your purchases of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Oreo cookies and Kool-Aid are probably a large factor in why Kraft is able to make such a bold move. I know I’ve done my part with my love of Ritz crackers and Philadelphia cream cheese.

Now Kraft is looking to become parent to yet another organization. However, as press reports indicate, Cadbury is attempting to resist the acquisition. While I’m not certain that the move will affect the taste of the Dairy Milk bar (a Cadbury staple), investors and business analysts are keeping a close eye on the proceedings.

If this deal touches off a resurgence in mergers and acquisitions (also known as M&A, which tend to occur during periods of economic recovery), executives may want to brush up on the basics of M&A. For that, I’d recommend a book we summarized a short time ago whose advice remains timeless. Scott Moeller and Chris Brady authored Intelligent M&A, a title that gives executives a strong survival guide to the intense, high-stakes world of mergers and acquisitions. It’s one of the most clear-cut books on the subject and would serve any executive well prior to being given a role in a company’s M&A efforts.

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