Coming Soon: A Feast Of Food Mergers

Unilever's bid for Bestfoods may be only the first course

For years, investment bankers have salivated as they eyed the struggling food industry. Its inability to raise prices and its mature, slow-growth product lines put pressure on earnings growth, making the business ripe for a merger wave. But a variety of obstacles, chief among them CEOs not ready to give up power, kept the consolidation engine idling.

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