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Nestlé CEO: I’m not a ‘huge deal’ maker

Nestlé CEO: I’m not a ‘huge deal’ maker

ZURICH (Reuters) – The Nestle food group is in no rush to acquire companies with rich valuations and will stick to its traditional, cautious approach to deals, the chief executive of the Nestle Group said at a conference on Thursday.

Mark Schneider said in a discussion organized by Bernstein: “I’ve done hundreds of deals in my life, and the biggest deal ever was Starbucks (Nasdaq 🙂 worth $7 billion, so I’m not a ‘huge deal’ maker.”

The maker of KitKat chocolate bars and split Nespresso coffee has adjusted its portfolio under Schneider’s leadership, steering it more toward premium, high-margin products.

“I am a firm believer in this statement from former US President Obama: Don’t do stupid things. That to me in mergers and acquisitions is a kind of guiding light. It looks attractive on paper and should add all the ingredients.”

“If there isn’t a big deal within a year, we can live with that,” Schneider said. “We are not in a rush, we have a lot of ways to grow our business besides mergers and acquisitions. Deals are optional because in most categories we have strong market shares.”

Schneider said valuations are still very rich, also for small and medium-sized deals, but at least these smaller deals offer better prospects for cost recovery.

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