Category winner: H J Heinz M&A

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This case won the Finance, Accounting and Control category at The Case Centre Awards and Competitions 2019.
 
The case

Who – the protagonists

Jorge Paulo Lemann and Warren Buffet of investment companies 3G and Berkshire Hathaway.

What?

why

Jorge and Warren had been friends for years.

Jorge was co-founder and partner of 3G Capital, whose expertise was in the retail and consumer sector.

Warren founded Berkshire Hathaway in 1955 and currently ranks number three on the Forbes Rich List.

Why?

Jorge approached Warren with the possibility of acquiring the famous brand H.J. Heinz.

After negotiating the purchase price, Heinz agreed to continue negotiating, but was this really a fair deal? What could be the future consequences for shareholders, management, employees and citizens of Pittsburgh, where Heinz had long been headquartered?

When?

It was December 2012 when Jorge approached Warren with his proposal.

On 30 March 2013 Heinz announced that shareholders had approved the acquisition.

PittsburghWhere?

Heinz has been based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, since 1900 when it was incorporated.

Key quote

“Apparently, Warren Buffet likes ketchup…a lot.” – Edward Aaron, CFA, RBC Capital Markets.

What next?

Did the benefits of the Heinz merger outweigh the potential risks? Could they keep the stakeholders happy?

 
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H J Heinz M&A
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The authors

David Stowell

David Stowell and Nicholas Kawar

David discusses what makes a good Finance case and the advantages of using published sources.

Interesting aspect

Interesting aspectDavid said: “Heinz was chosen because it provides an interesting analytical opportunity for students to consider the unique aspects of an acquisition by Warren Buffett, and the community and activist hedge fund aspects of this transaction.”

The perfect Finance case

He added: “The key to producing a good Finance case is creating an interesting cast of protagonists and questions that require both analytical effort and interesting social questions.”

Ethical argumentsEthical arguments

David commented: “There’s much debate in the classroom with this case, as there are ethical issues regarding activist hedge funds and community imperatives to consider in a merger and acquisition transaction.

Published sources

He continued: “Whilst field research cases have their place, going beyond with published sources makes a case more interesting and nuanced.”

Final thoughts

David concluded: “After teaching a case several times one always learns ways to improve teaching it and what to emphasize and deemphasise.”

About the authors

David P Stowell is Clinical Professor of Finance at Kellogg School of Management.
e d-stowell@kellogg.northwestern.edu

Nicholas Kawar was an MBA student at Kellogg School of Management when he wrote the case. He is now Vice President at J.P. Morgan.

 

View all the 2019 winners