Well that was a surprise to most of us – who would have forecast that Tesco would make a bid for Booker? Certainly not the hedge fund managers, who were hedging on Tesco shares going down not up, and of course, they rocketed on this news on Friday. What a shame! The deal may not go through of course, as some suspect that Tesco have undervalued the Booker shares, so one school of thought is that another company may counter-bid. However, as it stands, is this good news or bad news for the speciality food sector?
I can’t help thinking that it is most certainly very good news. The more that one company dominates supply, the more there is a groundswell against that company and people look for other options. Consider the independent retailer who has been fighting against the multiples including Tesco for several years and may use Booker or Makro to supply some of the products within their own store. Are they really going to be comfortable buying in stock from their dominant competitor. I think not. If this deal goes through there is an opportunity for others to come in and supply that retailer.
We will continue to watch this space and I think this story has a while to run yet! Meanwhile, I am taking a break from our Launch Shows and am in Cologne at the ISM show – a confectionery and bakery show, and one of the main places from which our Christmas range starts to take shape. Yes, it really is that time of year again for us! Strange, but true! There is nothing like looking at chocolate santas and snowmen in January. We live in very turbulent times and the headlines in the newspapers this morning have been extraordinary, and mainly focussed on Donald Trump, but it’s good to know the certainty of the last weekend of January is always the same – Cologne in the cold!
Have a good week and maybe see you at our final launch event for this half of the year in London on Thursday.