OMAHA, Neb. (Reuters) - Ketchup, bologna and Jell-O don’t excite Wall Street. But a big deal might whet its appetite for Kraft Heinz Co (KHC.O).
Many analysts believe Kraft Heinz, controlled by Brazil’s 3G Capital and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N), needs a blockbuster acquisition to foster growth.
And its energetic chief executive, Bernardo Hees, is under pressure to manage Street expectations.
While he says he is in no rush to do deals, does not need a big acquisition now, and is not talking much with investment bankers, opportunities may be coming.
“Our M&A framework has not changed,” Hees, 48, said in an interview at Berkshire’s recent annual shareholder weekend in Omaha, Nebraska. “We continue to like big brands. We continue to like businesses that can travel. We continue to like businesses that we can find synergies that we can reinvest behind growth.
“The relative and absolute valuations are more attractive today than they were six months ago, or a year ago,” Hees added. “If more consolidation would happen in the food and beverage industry, we want to be a force.”
Hees (pronounced “Hess”) is a partner at 3G, which is known for engineering big mergers, such as the creation of Restaurant Brands International Inc (QSR.TO) by combining Burger King with Canada’s Tim Hortons, and then imposing draconian cost cuts.
That reputation helped prompt Dove soap and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream maker Unilever Plc (UNc.AS) to rebuff 3G’s $143 billion Buffett-backed takeover approach last year.