Great anticipation ahead of major changes in baking
September 20, 2011
L. Joshua Sosland
Summer is the season for suspense in movie theater offerings, and the spirit appears to have spilled over into the baking industry. While “edge of your seat” and grain-based foods don’t often appear in the same sentence, the industry is waiting with bated breath for any of a number of developments that will fundamentally change the industry landscape for years to come.
For starters, Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. has predicted completion before month end of its acquisition of the North American Fresh Bakery business of Sara Lee Corp. (though the vagaries of the Department of Justice could come into play). First announced in November 2010, the transaction would create a baking company with a scale never before witnessed in the United States.
Anticipated with greater concern are developments at Hostess Brands, Inc. in the wake of recent press reports indicating the company had engaged legal and financial firms to negotiate with creditors.
Finally, a climactic moment appears to be near in the courtship of Ralcorp Holdings, Inc. by ConAgra Foods. Ralcorp shares tumbled this week when ConAgra said it would withdraw its overtures if Ralcorp does not engage in constructive dialogue.
Exactly when each of these “thrillers” will come to a conclusion is uncertain as is in how many instances the term “happy ending” will apply.