Wednesday, 5th April: According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, the second largest acquisition in the North American restaurant industry is about to take place. The first being Burger King’s $11.53bn deal for Canada’s Tim Horton’s back in 2014. JAB is reportedly known for building their empire of doughnuts and coffee via acquisitions, and news surfaced today they are expanding this empire in a bid to acquire the popular American bakery chain Panera Bread Co for £5.74bn. JAB is the parent of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, the expert who will make a doughnut flavour out of just about any dessert so long as it’s crammed with sugar. As well as doughnuts, they’re also the parents of Caribou Coffee, and a different coffee brand we’re probably more familiar with, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, which was only created in 2015 but seems to have established a solid position on supermarket shelves quite quickly. After rumours surfaced of the potential acquisition, Panera’s share price rose from a Monday morning start at $261.95, to a Wednesday morning start at $310.97. Confirmation and details only surfaced mid-day Wednesday, which had the media in frenzy.
Back over in the UK, the FTSE started the day positive by carrying yesterday’s gains along with them, opening 0.31% higher at 7343 after closing at 7321 on Tuesday. Thanks to the contribution from commodity-focused stocks, the FTSE outperformed the European market. By mid-day, the FTSE was up 0.33%, while the DAX and CAC 40 were down 0.31% and up 0.20% respectively. The biggest opening gainer was BHP Billiton at 2.45% higher, followed by Antofagasta which opened around 2.05% higher. Anglo American, Centrica, Rio Tinto and Royal Dutch Shell were also amongst the top opening gainers of the day, all as a result of the rising oil and coal prices. The steady rise in oil and coal prices this morning was a result of the market’s reaction to signs of gradual tightening in global oil inventories and market conditions, and the disruption of a cyclone which sparked worries over tighter coal supplies. Brent Crude rose slightly higher by 0.65% (35 cents) at $54.52/bbl early this morning and reached $54.95 intraday, after experiencing a low of $50.51/bbl only last month.
Lloyds has planned to cut a further 100 branches and consequently a further 325 jobs as part of their cost cutting plan, and due to the change in customer behaviour which tilts towards a higher online presence. Part of this plan is to also reduce some branches to just two staff per branch, who will carry out their jobs and operate with tablet computers opposed to the traditional desktops.