Retail & Consumer Products market update

Japan Tobacco International has bought an Iranian cigarette maker in order to consolidate its leadership in a country that is expected to experience economic growth once international sanctions are removed. The announcement arrived after rumours that Philip Morris was entering the market.

The US-Qatari consortium led by Stephen Ross is near to buy Formula One from CVC, the private equity group that owns 35.5 percent of F1, valuing the motor racing company at $8.5bn.

The Californian Peet’s Coffee & Tea, few weeks after having bought Portland’s Stumptown Coffee, have taken control of the Chicago-based Intelligentsia Coffee. The newco has now a portfolio of coffee brands to challenge Nestlé, which dominates coffee sales worldwide.

 The Latest Consolidation of Chinese Internet Firms

After a price war that has not seen any winner, China’s two biggest taxi-hailing apps, Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache, merged in February in a $6 billion deal.

Amid fierce competition for online bookings in China, where an expanding middle class is travelling abroad more and more frequently, and Qunar (backed by search engine Baidu) are China’s two leading travel websites and have announced a strategic partnership that will create China’s biggest online travel service., China’s version of, and restaurant-review app Dianping Holdings are near to merge to create China’s biggest online-to-offline provider of services (from movie tickets to restaurant bookings), valued at more that $15 billion. The acquisition would add to the $62.5 billion of Internet deals involving Chinese companies during the past year, Bloomberg data show.

Hamleys, the British toy store founded in 1760, is to be sold to China’s C.banner International for about £100m. The Chinese company specialises in women’s clothing and shoes.

The M&A activity that involves so many Chinese companies is happening during a “golden era” of relations between China and the UK. Beijing has decided that London is the preferred location in which to build an offshore financial centre for renminbi exchange and is set to issue renminbi-denominated government debt in in the City. The aim is to promote the renminbi as an international currency used not only as a means of payment but also as an investment currency. The news followed President Xi Jinping’s state visit in London on October 23rd.

To contact the authors:

Costantino Brizzi               

Giulio Palazzo