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Last week signalled the beginning of the serious courting period for PepsiCo as it attempts to tie the knot with Pioneer Foods. The next 12 or so months will be full of promise, interspersed with occasional frustrations, as the US-based food and drinks group tiptoes through a potential minefield of shareholder and regulatory approvals.

The scheme conditions run to a few pages and while backing from all of Pioneer’s minority shareholders — as well as those at its controlling company Zeder — can’t be taken for granted, the biggest challenge is likely, if history is anything to go by, securing approval from the competition authorities...

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