Zeenat Moorad Associate editor: Financial Mail

A short while ago Nestlé made the third-biggest transaction in its 152-year history. The Swiss food giant paid US$7.15bn in cash for the right to market Starbucks products — from coffee beans to capsules — in grocery stores, restaurants and catering operations. Nestlé needs all the help it can get: last year sales rose at their weakest pace in more than two decades. Like other consumer-goods groups, Nestlé has struggled as consumer tastes shift from packaged foods towards locally grown, organic options. The company has the added bother of activist shareholder Dan Loeb agitating for change. His hedge fund, Third Point, bought a $3.5bn stake in Nestlé in 2017 and became its fifth-largest shareholder. With the Starbucks deal, Nestlé will have a greater foothold in the US coffee market — one of its weak spots. There’s a European holding company called JAB, which in as little as five years has built up the world’s second-largest coffee business, controlling brands like Jacobs Douwe Egber...

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