Acquisition ‘Wins’ Will Vary

The beverage sector may be more interesting to follow for the next while, we may see some dominoes fall (acquisitions) or launches. A fascinating aspect of acquisitions is they show the specific growth strategy in a more revealing way than a CEO’s words/guidance. Monster energy drink acquired a craft brewery, then announced a 6% malt brew; they ‘unleashed the beast’ of an expansion plan. The buyout wins them expertise & credibility/access in a new sector (imo it was wise that their brew is under a non-Monster brand. An energy drink that sponsors extreme sports -Red Bull, Monster etc- must recognize the iffy optics of blending alcohol & extreme sports. That’s an #ethical powder keg).

Also in beverages: when Sapporo bought Sleemans in 2006, or Royal Unibrew bought Amsterdams (this summer), the new owner wins added brand(s) for a global portfolio, yet the end-game is to gain local market (Canada) expertise & channel access to win more presence for their home brand in Canada. You find Sapporo beer in many more Canadian pubs & liquor stores now, than in their Pre-Sleeman days. Expect the same for RU; prepare to see the Danish firm’s iconic Faxe beer in more Canadian pubs (perhaps including their overly potent 10% alcohol beer!). Contrast those wins with why Labatt bought Mill Street (2015); the late (& sorely missed) Joel Manning was a brilliant brewer, but Labatt already had brewing savvy; their big win was the Mill Street ‘craft brewer’ #brand when ‘mass’ beer brands were on the out; boutique brands that signaled individuality were on the upswing esp with GenyY/GenZ drinkers.

In contrast, what are the specific ‘wins‘ for Tech Behemoths when they make an ecosystem acquisition? eg when Amazon buys iRobot (Roomba) or Google buys Nest, or FitBit; are they after the tech itself? Patents? Brand Name? Channel savvy? Nope! The big win: instant permission-approved 1:1 data access.

Acquisitions: we watch’em, learn from’em & see strategy revealed. But there are many reasons to buy a firm; we must not assume the same metrics, or reasons, apply each time. There are many ways to win.

Thanks to LastCall news and FoodDive for the news!

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