Saturday, August 31, 2013

My RE:COM Piece On Everything Is Terrible Out Now

In the latest issue of RE:COM, I wrote about the fine folks at Everything Is Terrible and their new psychedelic, Reptilian Conspiracy-themed series, Channel 2020.

And also, Jerry Maguire.

You can check out a digital preview and order the issue here.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Buy(Out) American: Brazilian Heinz and Chinese Pig Farms


Don't expect beloved, iconic American brands to stay that way forever.

For example, Heinz is now partially co-owned by the same Brazilian billionaires who own Burger King and Budweiser:
In Brazil, Lemann is a business-class hero. He’s the wiry, white-haired conglomerateur who’s part Buffett, part Sam Walton, part Roger Federer. (In his younger days he was a five-time Brazilian national tennis champion.) “Lemann” is shorthand for pitiless efficiency. Last year he became the richest man in Brazil, taking the title from oil and mining tycoon Eike Batista, whose empire has since collapsed. Worth some $20 billion, Lemann is No. 32 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, seven slots behind George Soros and three ahead of Carl Icahn. Arminio Fraga, who worked under Lemann in the 1980s, later served as central bank chief, and now runs one of the country’s largest asset-management firms, is one of a generation of Brazilian entrepreneurs who look up to Lemann. “He carried out a revolution in the way people think about business,” Fraga says.
Lemann and his partners founded 3G in New York in 2004 to buy U.S. companies with the cash they’d earned from more than two decades of takeovers and turnarounds in Brazil. The name is a reference to the number of principals in the firm (the Brazilian press often calls Lemann, Telles, and Sicupira the three musketeers) and to Banco Garantia, the investment bank where they developed their management philosophy. Starting in the 1970s, Lemann built Garantia into Brazil’s premier financial firm. Since selling the bank to Credit Suisse (CS) in 1998, he and his partners have focused on acquisitions outside the financial industry, such as Heinz.
The New Yorker, meanwhile, points out the country's history of unease towards foreign ownership - including China's state-owned COFCO buying Smithfield Foods:
Again and again in U.S. history, the economic arguments for foreign investment have trumped politics. Indeed, foreign companies now own plenty of American food brands. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is owned by Unilever, a British and Dutch company. Gerber, the baby-food company, belongs to Nestle, a Swiss company. And just a few years ago, the U.S. meat processor Swift & Co. was bought by the Brazilian meatpacking giant JBS. Americans will likely have to get used to the idea of companies from China, and the rest of the world, owning more American food and farms.
On the flip side, there's always your local Farmer's Market.

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