Investment company JAB continues its acquisition spree and targets a Malaysian coffee chain, while French dairy company Lactalis buys in Brazil. Major US credit card companies, as well as China's UnionPay, are determined to make payment services easier, and discounter Lidl is set to accelerate its searches for US sites.




Tuesday, 12 December 2017





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Investment company JAB continues its acquisition spree and targets a Malaysian coffee chain, while French dairy company Lactalis buys in Brazil. Major US credit card companies, as well as China's UnionPay, are determined to make payment services easier, and discounter Lidl is set to accelerate its searches for US sites.

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Asia & Australia


Coffee deal ▪ JAB Holdings, a unit of Austria's billionaire Reimann family, has made a bid to buy OldTown Berhad, a Malaysian coffee chain. It is not the private company's first purchase in Asia. A year ago, JAB offered to buy Singapore-listed coffee manufacturer Super Group and sealed the acquisition in June.



Mobile payment ▪ Financial service provider China UnionPay will expand its offer with an integrated mobile app, spurring a strong fightback against third-party payments such as Alipay or WeChat Pay. The latter have signed multiple agreements abroad to keep Chinese tourists happy when they travel away from the mainland.



Amazing avocados ▪ Australia’s first avo-themed pop-up restaurant, named The Good Fat, has opened in Sydney and became an instant hit. Check it out (video). Britain's Marks & Spencer is also focusing on the nutritious green fruit by offering stoneless cocktail avocados.




Europe & Brazil


Trust issues ▪ Birkenstock has terminated its business relations with Amazon in Europe. The German footwear retailer claimed there had been a “series of violations of law” and said consumers were being misled by counterfeit goods on the online platform.



Dairy decisions ▪ French dairy giant Lactalis has ordered a global product recall of baby milk products due to fears of salmonella bacteria contamination. In other news, it was revealed that Lactalis is set to buy Itambé, a Brazilian dairy group, from rural producers cooperative CCPR.



Merger talks ▪ Portuguese retail group Sonae is said to be in negotiations with Egypt's Abraaj Group (paywall) to acquire the Spinneys supermarket chain in the country. The Egyptians are reportedly also in talks with Majid Al Futtaim, the operator of Carrefour in the Middle East.




USA & Canada


Strategy alignments ▪ In a bid to accelerate site acquisitions along the American East Coast, Lidl is shifting its development plans and is now interested in leasing sites for new stores as opposed to solely purchasing them. The German discounter is seeking opportunities in dense urban areas.



POS improvements ▪ Thanks to new chip technology in credit cards, signatures have become less necessary. Beginning next year, major financial service providers, including Mastercard and American Express, will no longer require customers to sign their receipts. The move is regarded a big step forward.



Meal solutions ▪ While a number of its competitors, including Publix and Kroger, have entered the meal-kit space with their own programmes, Walmart has begun selling third-party meal kits on its website, using this lower-cost model to see whether the offer resonates well with its audience.




Keep an eye on


E-commerce trends ▪ Online merchants will grow their physical footprint, while brick-and-mortar retail enjoys a comeback. That's according to e-commerce agency Absolunet. The company has published a list of ten trends that will impact retailers in the coming year.



Steinhoff's battle ▪ A week after its shares collapsed and its bonds were downgraded to junk amid an accounting scandal, the South African retail empire faces a potential sale of its global holdings as it fights for survival. Meanwhile, former CEO Markus Joost has issued an apology for “big mistakes”.