Just a couple of months ago Malcolm Walker was making optimistic noises about retaking control of Iceland, the chain he set up, then left, and has since restored to significant growth.
Talking to The Grocer in October, Walker admitted for the first time that he had indeed attempted to wrest back ownership from the chain’s Icelandic masters.
Although his £750m bid (valuing the chain at £1bn, due to Walker’s own 24% share) was rebuffed, he said the offer remained “on the table”.
To complete his comeback, however, Walker might need to rummage around for a few extra pennies. Quite a few more, actually, after it emerged today that a group of Gulf-based investors are plotting a £1.5bn move for the chain.
If that sounds to you like a potential repeat of the QIA-Sainsbury’s saga, some deals offer far more of a natural fit.
And that was exactly the phrase used today by the aptly named Maximuscle chief executive Peter Boddy. The protein shake brand so beloved of pecs-blasting gym-bunnies has been sold to GSK for upside of £160m.
With Lucozade and Ribena comprising GSK’s only real heavyweight brands in food and drink, the company has been looking to add to its portfolio for some time. And sports nutrition is widely seen as an underdeveloped area.
In turn, GSK can offer Maximuscle the sort of promotional and marketing heft that has brought about big turnarounds in sales for both Lucozade Sport and Lucozade Energy this year.
You can get the low-down on those improvements in our Top Products Survey 2010, which is free in Saturday’s edition of The Grocer. It’s a bumper 150-page edition to close the year from us – and proof, as Maximuscle would doubtless attest, that bigger sometimes really is better.
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