Kellogg to Split into Three Companies

The famed food manufacturing company Kellogg has announced that it will be splitting into three independent companies. The first will consist of Kellogg’s (K) North America cereals, the second is snacks, and the third is a new “pure-play plant-based foods company,” a shootoff of its MorningStar Farms brand.

The announcement from the 116-year-old iconic business comes a decade after Kellogg acquired Pringles. That sale was the beginning of a shift from a focus on cereals to snacks, following people’s tendencies to eat on the go and between meals.

In explaining the company’s decision, CEO Steve Cahillane affirmed that the move gives the chance for each spinoff to unlock its full potential. In an effort to grow shareowner value, splitting the business into individual entities enables each to realize the possibilities of its specific product line and reach appropriate financial goals.

The snack breakoff is destined to be the largest of the three, with over $11 billion in sales last year – 60% of sales coming from Pop-Tarts, Nutri-Grain, Cheez-It, and Pringles.

The new business split up is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023.

What Mohamed Amersi is saying about the Telia deal

Mohamed Amersi
Mohamed Amersi

Mohamed Amersi is generally unknown in Sweden, but in the 2010s he was a legendary dealmaker in the emerging markets of Eurasia. For several years, Telia hired Amersi and his company to facilitate the company’s investments in Turkey, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Russia, and Uzbekistan. 

As background, Amersi says “I have a long experience of doing M&A business in emerging markets. In Latin America for Telefonica, in the Middle East for Etisalat, Oredoo and Zain, in Africa for Etisalat, MTN and Zain, in Russia for Veon to name a few clients. In total, I have participated in transactions corresponding to approximately 1,000 billion Swedish Kronas.” Within these deals, Amersi provided both legal expertise and input from his corporate, finance, private equity, and venture capital experience.

“At the time of Telia’s business in Eurasia, the company had ambitions to become a global player in telecoms, primarily through acquisitions in emerging markets. To succeed in this,” Amersi explains,  “a successful acquisition strategy was required. At that time, the two merging companies – Swedish Telia and Finnish Sonera – already had a presence in Eurasia through the operators Megafon, Turkcell, and Fintur. But the competence of the merged company needed to be strengthened to be able to continue to acquire and manage operators in Eurasia.” As Amersi attests, he is arguably the only person who could both handle the M&A directly, “and had insight into the local culture and could work both sustainably and profitably.”

Amersi reiterates that Telia Sonera was also interested in finding and acquiring operators in other emerging markets. That is why his company was hired for an ongoing role in advisement to merge Swedish-Finnish company. Ultimately, the merger was meant to bring Telia new operators outside of Eurasia, with expansions in emerging countries such as Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Iran, and Ethiopia.

It was precisely Amersi’s cultural litheness and familiarity that allowed him to make valuable contributions to the Telia merger process. To Amersi, his role was “about general advice, resolving ownership disputes, understanding local regulatory issues and not least evaluating and concluding agreements with local partners.” These local partners, says Amersi, are often quite powerful and wealthy; their support is key to making any deal.

“But unlike what has been described in the press, it is not about bribes at all. It is crucial that the deal is started in the right way. It must be made clear to the responsible authorities, regulatory units and other authorities and parties that there will be no bribes.” 

Mohamed Amersi

Toward that end, Amersi adds that the collaboration with prominent local partners must be fully established and clarified from the very beginning. This allows for clearly described roles and responsibilities,” as well as clear payment flows. Amersi also says that local partners must be required to co-own the merged entity, giving them a financial stake (and risk) that come with the co-ownership. Amersi’s insistence on the local partners is in fact built on the principle that “value creation in the merged business that profits and dividends can be made. Not through bribes. It is in collaboration with a weak partner that corruption most often occurs.”

Furthermore, Amersi insists that a culture of giving back must be inherent in any merger process. “It is about creating local jobs, education and skills development locally, and not trying to minimize taxes, but paying full local tax.”

Mohamed Amersi

As for his involvement with Telia, Amersi clarifies “My role in this transaction was of a technical nature…I was asked as an advisor to make a check of the valuation made of Telia’s finance function and to be helpful in developing an optimal structure for the transaction. In addition to my assignment, Telia had hired world-leading lawyers with recognized good competence and experience in negotiating and drafting agreements, as well as conducting audits and due diligence.  I, therefore, did not participate in the negotiations themselves or directly in the implementation of the deal or in any part of the review and due diligence.”

Ultimately, it is clear from the investigations and a conversation with Amersi that not a single error was found, or any remark made.  Telia’s auditors also reviewed the relationship between the companies.  Amersi is a man of truth, integrity, and respect; these are his keywords for trust and transactions of all kinds.

Travelers Face Soaring Airfares

With the shining sun and Covid restrictions letting up, Americans are eagerly booking vacations and flights for the upcoming summer months. Tired of regulations and staying at home, people are excited for a newfound freedom they’ve missed. Together with the enthusiasm to travel, experts warn of increasingly hefty airfares.

According to the Associated Press, the expected number of travelers this summer is higher than in pre-pandemic times. Prices of domestic flights are selling at rates 24% higher than during this season in 2019 and 45% more than this time last year. Similarly, international flights are going for 10% more than in 2019.

So, why the drastic increase?

According to airlines, there are a few factors. First and foremost is the rise in jet fuel prices. Additionally, there are fewer flights available for booking and many travelers interested in purchasing tickets. In the words of Hayley Berg, an economist for Hopper, “We have more travelers looking to book fewer seats, and each of those seats is going to be more expensive for airlines to fly this summer because of jet fuel.” Lastly, there is a major decrease in staff numbers in comparison to before the pandemic, and this often results in canceled flights.

Bottom line: If you are eager to make up for missed time during the Covid-19 restrictions, go for it – but be prepared to pay the price!

Neil Cole Iconix Founder Introduced A New Online Shopping Experience

Neil Cole, the award-winning branding pioneer, founder of the Iconix Brand Group changed the way people shop online when he founded Next Retail Concepts – shoppers experienced an immersive experience online – and could actually feel like they are in the store. We’ve all shopped online, virtually the entire world understands how online shopping works and probably experienced doing so during the COVID-19 pandemic. But not everyone has been able to have an immersive experience of feeling like you’re in the store and actively shopping while online. As Neil Cole Iconix founder explains, “Our proprietary technology transforms the traditional eCommerce landscape within our innovative platform to create exciting and engaging immersive shoppable experiences that tell a brand story. This is a dynamic new way to shop.” Neil Cole launched the platform originally with Fred Segal and Mastercard, the shopping experience premiered at 29Rooms in Los Angeles and enabled shoppers to browse the physical store at Fred Segal with features that are similar to Google’s Street View. A shopper virtually enters a store and to navigates throughout the physical space to products of interest and clicks on products for details. Explaining how unique Next Retail Concepts is, Neil Cole said, “This experience engages the user on a deeper level and tells a better brand story. It’s like a virtual pop-up that you get to navigate yourself through to create a unique, personalized journey.” The future of shopping has arrived – and it’s certainly looking exciting!

Coca-Cola UK Introduces Attached Bottle Caps

Everyone is familiar with the content feeling of walking through smooth, silky sand at the beach only to be suddenly irked by stepping on something hard and painful. While it may sometimes be a seashell, often we stomp on all sorts of litter, frequently bottle caps.

As part of Coca-Cola’s “World Without Waste” initiative, the company’s UK branch has begun manufacturing new models of its plastic bottles. The new design features an attached cap, making it easier to recycle the whole piece and eliminate tossing the caps. The global initiative’s main mission is to collect and recycle one can or bottle for every one that they sell by 2030. It also aims to produce cans and bottles made of 50% recyclable material by 2030 and to offer 100% recyclable packaging by 2025.

Jon Woods, Coca-Cola Great Britain’s general manager, explained the new bottle design: “This is a small change that we hope will have a big impact, ensuring that when consumers recycle our bottles, no cap gets left behind.”

In addition to the pollution problem the loose caps pose, it is also an image concern for companies like Coke. The population notices the shorelines and landfills overflowing with these items, associating the trash with the company and negatively impacting their brand’s reputation. New regulations by the EU also require companies to attach the caps to some plastic bottles by the end of 2024.

While some environmentalists believe Coca-Cola should switch from plastic to reusable containers, the shift the UK spur is making in its bottle design is surely a step in the right direction.