Posts tagged with "Berkshire Hathaway"

Mr. Peanut joins the Skippy family in a $3.4 billion acquisition

February 12, 2021

It’s been a tough few years for Mr. Peanut, who died in early 2020 and was reborn as a baby nut as part of a Super Bowl ad campaign.

Now he has a new home: Kraft is selling Planters to Hormel—the parent company  of such brands as SPAM and Skippy—in a $3.35 billion deal, CNN reports.

The sale, which is expected to close this year, will give Hormel ownership of most products included in the Planters brand—among them, mixed nuts, trail mix, Corn Nuts, Cheez Balls, and Cheez Curls. Planters brought in about $1 billion in sales in 2020.

The deal could very well be a win-win for the companies: For Kraft, ditching Planters will offer a chance to focus on its most successful brands (for example, Lunchables), the company said in a news release Thursday. The deal also will help Hormel to expand its snack offerings at a time when people are eating at home more.

Kraft Heinz CEO Miguel Patricio has been leading an effort to turn the company’s prospects around, since he came to the company last July from Anheuser-Busch InBev. Kraft has been selling off lower-margin businesses. Last year, the company announced a sale of its natural cheese business, including Polly-O and Breakstone’s, to the French company Lactalis for $3.2 billion. 

Planters in particular is vulnerable to competition from private label products, said Patricio during an analyst call.

Before the pandemic, Kraft was struggling. Many on Wall Street said it failed to adapt to the changing tastes of consumers, who are shying away from processed foods.

According to CNN, analysts have also questioned the strategic decisions of private equity firm 3G Capital, which partnered with Berkshire Hathaway to first buy Heinz and then merge it with Kraft in a 2015 deal. After Berkshire Hathaway, 3G is the second-largest shareholder of the company. Following the merger, the combined company worked to cut costs—at the expense of much-needed innovation, many Wall Street analysts believe.

However,  the pandemic, which has driven people to stock up on pantry staples and nostalgic foods, has helped boost Kraft’s sales. In the fourth quarter of 2020, net sales grew 6% to $6.9 billion, beating Wall Street’s expectations.

Research contact: @CNN

Amazon, JPMorgan, and Berkshire Hathaway select CEO for joint healthcare venture

June 21, 2018

The nonprofit joint healthcare venture announced by JPMorgan, Amazon, and Berkshire Hathaway in January has hired a CEO—Dr. Atul Gawande, a professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and at Harvard Medical School—who will start on July 9 at the headquarters of the independent company in Boston.

Gawande is described in the venture’s June 20 press release as “globally renowned surgeon, writer and public health innovator who practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.”

He also is founding executive director of the health systems innovation center, Ariadne Labs, which he and a team of leaders created in 2012 “to find solutions to some of the most complex problems in healthcare, including life-threatening errors in surgery, maternal and neonatal mortality; failures in end-of-life card; and fragmented and ineffective  primary healthcare systems.” Gawande will transition from his current position at Ariadne to chairman, after a new professional is recruited to take his role.

In addition, he is a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine and has written four best-selling books—the most recent among them, Being Mortal

“I am thrilled about this opportunity as it aligns perfectly with my personal mission,” Gawande said. “I have devoted my public health career to working with colleagues to build scalable solutions for better health care delivery in the United States and across the world. Now, I have the support of these remarkable organizations to pursue this mission for their employees and families in ways that incubate better models of care for all. And I will be able to do so while maintaining my own voice and continuing to enable Ariadne Labs’ powerful and complementary work.”

The three companies that are collaborating to create better healthcare for their employees in the absence of a fully government-funded solution actually already are self-insured employers, according to a report by Business Insider.

They have commented that they intend initially to focus on using technology to simplify care, but have not elaborated on how they intend to do that or bring down costs. One of the people briefed on the alliance said the new company wouldn’t replace existing health insurers or hospitals

“We’re already the insurance company, we’re already making these decisions, and we simply want do a better job,” JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon told Business Insider in February.

The venture will be geared toward employees of the three companies rather than healthcare consumers nationwide, although Dimon said all Americans stood a chance of benefiting.

“We said at the outset that the degree of difficulty is high and success is going to require an expert’s knowledge, a beginner’s mind, and a long-term orientation,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in the statement. “Atul embodies all three, and we’re starting strong as we move forward in this challenging and worthwhile endeavor.”

A recent Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that a 51% majority of Americans support a national health plan, also known as a single-payer plan, while 43%t oppose it.

Research contact: pr@amazon.com