Tag Archives: Acquisition / Merger / Share Ownership

Google strikes to deal with major Australian news organizations over payment | Instant News


CANBERRA, Australia – Seven West Media has become Australia’s largest news media business to strike a deal with Google to pay for journalism in a partnership announced Monday before the country’s Parliament considers a bill that forces digital giants to pay for news.

Google and public broadcast television, print and online publishing companies jointly announced that they had agreed a “long-term partnership” after weekend discussions by Australian government ministers with media executive Facebook.
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CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Alphabet Inc.
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and its subsidiary Google.

Kerry Stokes, chairman of Seven West Media, which has 21 publications, thanked the Australian government and competition regulators for their proposals.

“Their exceptional leadership in implementing the proposed news media bargaining code has allowed us to conclude negotiations that yield fair payouts and ensure our digital future,” Stokes said in a statement.

“The negotiations with Google recognize the value of quality and genuine journalism across the country and, in particular, in the region,” added Stokes.

The deal was reached under Google’s own model, the News Showcase. Google has reached payment agreements with more than 450 publications globally since the News Showcase launched in October.

Google announced two weeks ago that it had started paying for seven much smaller Australian websites under the News Showcase.

Google regional director Mel Silva said: “We are proud to support genuine, trusted and quality journalism and are delighted to welcome Seven West Media today as Australia’s premier publishing partner to join the Google News Showcase.”

The partnership is a big investment for Google in journalism not only in metro areas but also in smaller communities, he added.

Neither Google nor Seven West Media said how much the deal was worth. Rival media company Nine Entertainment reported, citing unnamed industry sources, that it was worth more than 30 million Australian dollars ($ 23 million) a year.

Prior to the announcement, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Google and Facebook were close to reaching a commercial agreement, “which could be of great benefit to the domestic media landscape and see journalists being rewarded financially for producing original content, as it should be.”

Google and Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment about Frydenberg’s discussions with their leaders.

Google has stepped up its campaign against the proposed law, telling the Senate committee researching it that the platform will likely make search engines unavailable in Australia if the code is introduced.

Facebook threatened to block Australians from sharing news if the platform was forced to pay for news.

Although the digital giants can bear the potential costs of paying for the Australian news they link to, they are concerned about the international precedent Australia could set.

Google has faced pressure from authorities elsewhere to pay for news. Last month, they signed a deal with a group of French publishers, paving the way for companies to make digital copyright payments. Under the agreement, Google will negotiate individual licensing deals with newspapers, with payments based on factors such as the amount of internet site traffic published daily and monthly.

In Australia, the platform is able to enter into payment agreements with media businesses before the code is promulgated.

The law will create an arbitration panel to make binding decisions on payments if the news platform and business cannot agree on a price for news.

Panels will usually receive the best deals from platforms or publishers, and rarely set prices in between.

This should prevent news platforms and businesses from making unrealistic requests.

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The CEO Behind KFC, Taco Bell Orders Fast-Food Growth To Go On | Instant News


David Gibbs just signed

Yum brand Inc.

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the first restaurant acquisition in years and is planning a convention for nearly 1,000 fast food franchisees worldwide when the pandemic cripples the global economy in March.

The sudden crisis threatens to wipe out most of the $ 17 billion that companies and franchisees make in annual dinner sales at all KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut restaurants in more than 150 countries. Mr. Gibbs, a 31-year Yum veteran who became CEO a year ago, went from advancing the company’s expansion strategy to competing with thousands of closed restaurants.

Since then, many large fast food companies mostly recovered from the early pandemic close, and Yum’s comparable US sales rose in the third quarter from a year ago. But Mr. Gibbs said he was rethinking how Yum – which has more than 50,000 restaurants, more than any other fast food chain – could serve and deliver more food to carry over the long term.

He’s planning a future where pre-ordering fried chicken online is routine, and Pizza Hut customers can get their orders placed in their suitcases without having to walk into the restaurant.

Meanwhile, hundreds of his US Pizza Hut locations, most of which do dine-in businesses, have permanently closed.

The 57-year-old Gibb spoke to The Wall Street Journal via video from Yum’s largely vacant office in Plano, Texas. Below is an edited excerpt.

WSJ: What mistakes did Yum make at the start of the pandemic and how do you learn from them?

Mr. Gibbs: If I look back before the pandemic, I wish we had moved faster for Pizza Hut to be more delivery, run business and less dependent on on-site dining. We’ve talked about it for years. Sometimes large organizations can become bureaucratic. But I think we may be impressed even with ourselves in how fast we’ve spun.


“ I didn’t know that normal appearance was exactly like before the pandemic. Consumers may be more aware of cleanliness in restaurants, and we are looking for new ways to provide a safe environment. ‘


– David Gibbs, CEO of Yum Brands

WSJ: Drive-through has helped many fast food chains stay busy during a pandemic. How does that affect your development plans?

Mr. Gibbs: We’re working on a design that has multiple drive-throughs. The Australian business began building several test units with five drive-throughs in one building.

But the other part of the story is the roadside execution. You see it not only in the restaurant industry, but also in retail. This is good because of our peak drive-through constraints. No matter how hard you ride, you can still fit only X cars in a row.

WSJ: Should the front line workers get food and restaurant early access to vaccines?

Mr. Gibbs: We are very excited about this vaccine. When it’s my turn, I’ll be in line to get it. We hope all our employees get it. But we do know that there are others, such as frontline healthcare workers, who are ahead of us in the queue.

“We support the national minimum wage, and we will work under the minimum wage set by the government,” said Gibbs.


Photo:

Trevor Paulhus for The Wall Street Journal

WSJ: Once a vaccine is more universally available, will you ask employees to get it or have your franchisor consider it?

Mr. Gibbs: We are studying the matter right now and haven’t made any decisions yet. It is important to remember that 98% of our stores are run by these franchisees. So it’s more complex than we just mandating that every store needs to get a vaccine.

WSJ: Even when vaccines start rolling out, it’s unclear when life will begin to return to normal. When did you anticipate this to happen in fast food?

Mr. Gibbs: I didn’t know that normal appearance was exactly like before the pandemic. Consumers may be more aware of cleanliness in restaurants, and we are looking for new ways to provide a safe environment.

WSJ: What management actions have you taken that will survive the pandemic?

Mr. Gibbs: One of the biggest lessons I learned is the power of authentic communication versus the formal written memos someone might send. We bring together various groups of franchisees, corporate teams from around the world in video calls. We get hundreds of questions via the chat function – real time, without filters. We learn from that.

WSJ: Do you support a $ 15 minimum wage at the federal level and for your employer and franchisees?

Mr. Gibbs: We support the national minimum wage, and we will work under whatever minimum wage the government makes.

Mr. Gibbs said he hoped Yum “had moved faster for Pizza Hut to be more than a delivery, running business” when the pandemic hit.


Photo:

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

WSJ: How do you expect the dynamics between the CEO and the White House to shift in the new government?

Mr. Gibbs: We are excited to work with the Biden government and share their goal of building back better especially on the economy and fighting inequality. We have been in more than a hundred countries around the world for decades – we have operated in any political environment.

WSJ: The pandemic’s theme is menu simplification, but some customers say Taco Bell went too far in removing options. Were you surprised by the commotion when Taco Bell removed Mexican Pizza?

Mr. Gibbs: I’ve never been surprised by the passion our customers – especially Taco Bell – have for our iconic products. We can always bring back the Mexican Pizza at some point if the request is there.

WSJ: What is your pandemic tranquillizer?

Mr. Gibbs: I often pass through Taco Bell drive-throughs. We introduced grilled cheese burritos during a pandemic, and that’s the definition of a product that was so coveted for me and my college son.

Write to Heather Haddon at [email protected]

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Kroger Partner Ocado Pushes Into Robotics | Instant News


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Coca-Cola withdraws from bottling in Australia as a bubble offering to sell shares | Instant News


SYDNEY—

soft drink Together.

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agreed in principle to sell its stake in Australian bottling to one of its European affiliates, the latest move to reduce exposure to expensive bottling operations and focus on the more lucrative concentrate manufacturing business.

The deal between Atlanta-based Coke and

European partner of Coca-Cola

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PLC, which bottles and distributes Coke products in Western Europe, valued Coke’s 31% stake in Australian bottlers at about $ 1.6 billion. Coca-Cola European Partners on Monday also offered to buy the remaining 69% of the Australian company,

Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd.

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Bottlers had lost their fizz in Coke for a while.

In 2017, Coke completed a series of deals in the US that shifted its bottling business there from a largely company-owned system to one run by local groups, some of which were family-owned, truck products to stores and operate production plants. A year later, Coke sold its Canadian bottling operations, including a distribution center and five soda manufacturers.

Getting rid of that asset-heavy operation means the number of Coke employees has fallen sharply in recent years, while helping to reduce its debt burden. However, Coke faced new challenges that were brought by the coronavirus crisis and have discontinued some brands, lay off some workers and change its marketing strategy.

On Monday, Coke said it would only sell its shares if the deal for Coca-Cola European Partners to acquire the remainder of Coca-Cola Amatil is implemented. Other Australian bottling shareholders, including investment funds and mom-and-pop investors, will need to vote to agree to the deal. The head of the Australian company said it plans to recommend a sale unless a winning bid emerges, adding that there is no guarantee the deal will work.

Coca-Cola European Partners is offering 12.75 Australian dollars, equivalent to $ 9.10, a share for Coca-Cola Amatil, about a 23% premium over the volume-weighted average price for the week. Australia-listed Coca-Cola Amatil rose about 16% in Monday trade, to A $ 12.50 per share.

Coke, however, agreed to sell its stake in Coca-Cola Amatil at a lower price – around A $ 10 per share. Coke may sell its shares to Coca-Cola European Partners in two or more stages over time, with several price variations.

In a statement, Coke said it supports the entire transaction, and it is in the best interests of the Coca-Cola system as a whole and shareholders in Australian and European companies. It said the deal would combine the strengths and capabilities of the two companies.

“We will open up further growth and value in their important market,” said Coke.

Coca-Cola European Partners, which says it is the world’s largest Coke bottler by revenue, said the deal would add geographic diversification and scale to the company’s footprint, which is currently focused exclusively on Western Europe. Coca-Cola Amatil sells Coke products in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Indonesia – which has a population of 270 million and is touted as a growth opportunity for Coke products.

Analysts said Monday’s deal reflects Coke’s overall strategy to limit its involvement in bottling operations, even though Coke has made a one-time investment to accelerate sales in promising markets, including putting $ 500 million into Coca-Cola Amatil’s Indonesian subsidiary about five years ago. .

“There are multiple stages in the process of making concentrate and getting it into the hands of consumers, and bottling and distributing it are two of the most capital intensive parts of the process,” Adam Fleck, regional director of equity research in Australia at Morningstar, said Monday. “They have historically relied on their bottling partners to take that capital.”

Coke still has about 19% stake in Coca-Cola European Partners.

Coca-Cola Amatil has faced many of the same challenges as bottlers in other markets. Consumers in Australia, the largest market by income, have shifted away from sugary and carbonated drinks due to health concerns, earning revenue despite the company’s efforts to diversify into distribution of coffee, energy drinks and alcohol.

Recently, sales have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, particularly as people hoarded lower-margin products sold in grocery stores instead of higher-margin products in bars and restaurants, which were closed during the lockdown.

Stock brokerage firm Morgans said that Coca-Cola European Partners’ assessment of Coca-Cola Amatil was in line with other bottling deals, but it was not a “knock-out offer”. Coca-Cola Amatil could achieve higher margins in the future, mainly because it benefits from a cost-cutting program and easy lockdown for the coronavirus across the region, the company said.

Write to Mike Cherney at [email protected]

Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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London Stock Exchange Group Sells Italian Stocks for $ 5.1 Billion, Paving Way for Refinitiv Deal | Instant News


Euronext leads the buyer consortium of Borsa Italiana, above.


Photo:

Camilla Cerea / Bloomberg News

LONDON-

London Stock Exchange Group

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PLC agreed on Friday to sell the Borsa Italiana Group to a group led by its pan-European rivals

Euronext

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NV, a divestment intended to smooth approval of a separate, much larger, acquisition of financial data company Refinitiv Holdings Ltd.

The deal, priced at around € 4.33 billion, the equivalent of $ 5.1 billion, was aimed eases antitrust concerns about potential domination of bond trading the proposed $ 15 billion bond between LSE and Refinitiv. MTS SpA Borsa Italiana is Italy’s leading bond exchange, one of the largest debt markets in Europe. Refinitiv has a bond trading platform

Tradeweb.

“This removes major hurdles to the deal, and may also generate some political goodwill,” said Chris Turner, equity analyst at Berenberg Bank, ahead of Friday’s announcement.

Euronext leads a buyers consortium that includes the investment arm of the Italian government and Italian banks

Intesa Sanpaolo

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Spa. The deal price includes an unspecified payment based on cash generated by Italian exchanges through settlement of the deal, the company said. The Italian government has previously signaled it will support a deal under which Italy will retain a portion of the stock exchange.

The LSE deal to acquire Refinitiv is currently under review by the European Commission.

Write to Anna Isaac at [email protected] and Ben Dummett at [email protected]

Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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