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Mead Johnson, Hansen Likely M&A Targets, Goldman Says

Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. and juice maker Hansen Natural Corp. are among the top candidates for takeovers in the consumer-products industry because of their growth prospects, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

“The pace of deal activity in consumer staples has picked up,” analysts including Judy Hong said in the report dated Oct. 19, citing the takeovers of companies including Alberto-Culver Co. and American Safety Razor Co. They also named Lorillard Inc., the maker of Newport cigarettes, as a potential target.

The companies are grabbing bigger shares of sales in their markets, making them ripe for consumer-products makers seeking expansion, according to the report. Corona, California-based Hansen, for example, reported a 22 percent increase in revenue in its latest quarter, bolstered by sales of Monster Energy drinks in the U.S. and abroad.

In the past year, there have been 48 deals in the U.S. in the beverage industry alone, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Mead, based in Glenview, Illinois, gained 52 cents to $57.92 at 4:01 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange trading, while Lorillard climbed 23 cents to $83.20. Hansen Natural rose 61 cents to $50.34 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading.

Representatives at Hansen didn’t return a call for comment. Mead spokesman Chris Perille declined to comment, as did Bob Bannon, a spokesman for Greensboro, North Carolina-based Lorillard.

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