Media July 2012

The Great British Brand Sale

NTT Invests in London Data Firm

A subsidiary of one of the world’s largest telecommunications firms has bought an 85% stake in Gyron Internet Ltd to strengthen its European cloud computing services, the Mainichi Shimbun reported on 4 June.

NTT Communications aims to strengthen its group’s cloud-based information and communications services by gaining access to Gyron’s data centre resources.

Vince Cable, secretary of state of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, believes NTT’s investment is “further proof that we are providing the right environment to attract world-renowned companies”.

London-based Gyron plans to open two centres in 2012 and 2013.

Classic Food Labels Bought

Mizkan Group Corporation has bought Sarson’s vinegar and Haywards pickled onions for £41mn, the Nikkei reported on 15 June.

The latest British brands sold abroad will help Premier Foods pay off a £1bn debt and focus on some of its core lines, such as Hovis, Mr Kipling and Batchelors.

Kazuhide Matazaemon Nakano VIII, president and chief executive of Mizkan, said: “We are pleased to have acquired two strong and iconic brands that have such a long heritage in the UK.

“Sarson’s and Haywards are beloved by consumers and we look forward to investing in the brands and adding to their legacy. They fit well with our global portfolio, are an excellent strategic fit and provide a solid foundation for growth in the UK”.

Of the 91 best-selling food brands born and sold in the UK, only 43 are now British-owned. Some classics sold recently are:

Weetabix—60% share sold to China’s Bright Food (Group) Co., Ltd.
John West—Bought by Thai Union Group
New Covent Garden Soup—Sold to Hain Celestial Group, Inc. of New York
Cadbury—Now owned by Kraft Foods Inc.

Bank Sells EMI to Sony

A Sony Corporation-led group has bought EMI Music Publishing for $2.2bn, the Asahi Shimbun reported on 31 June.

Regulators have yet to approve the deal, which would create the world’s largest music copyrights firm, estimated to own almost one-third of publishing revenue. The seller, Citigroup, had acquired EMI from private equity firm Terra Firma in 2011.

Mitsui to Buy BP Stakes

BP plc will sell minor shares in two North Sea oil and gas fields to Mitsui & Co., Ltd. for $280mn, the Nikkei reported on 26 June.

BP holds 13.3% and 8.97% of the Alba and Britannia fields, respectively, which produce 7,000 barrels of oil and gas per day.

The deal will help BP meet a $38bn compensation bill for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill by 2013.