Sunday, November 29, 2009

Aer Lingus in a stuggle to save itself against another takeover attempt

Aer Lingus has started sounding the takeover alarm. The new head of the airline has warned the company risks being taken over by its larger rival Ryanair unless all employees agree to his restructuring plans for sweeping cost cuts.

The issue is that if Aer Lingus isn't capable to control it's own costs and plan ahead , then the likelihood of being taken over and hence remain non independent is more likely to occur. Aer Lingus biggest rival is Ryanair, which has already placed two bids for Aer Lingus over the past years. Ryanair first bid €2.80 a share for Aer Lingus in October 2006, valuing the company at €1.48bn. That takeover was blocked by the European Commission on competition grounds. A second bid worth half that of the first in December last year also failed after the Irish government, which has a 25 per cent stake in Aer Lingus, said it undervalued the airline.

According to Irish takeover laws, Ryanair has the opportunity of making another takeover bid in late is believed that the failure to reach an agreement with unions will increase the likelihood of the bid. Ryanair who already control just over 29 per cent of Aer Lingus is seeking to increase it shareholding to take full control.

The new chief executive officer of Aer Lingus who joined just a few months ago has devised plans and started talks to cut job and pays in order to save about €97m, however the Airline is still struggling in the negotiations with the pilots.

Aer Lingus this year reported a pre-tax loss of €119.7m and analysts say a failure to cut costs could jeopardise its independence.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

ASDA Against Man Boobs

ASDA is trying to improve men's image...but how? The supermarket's clothing brand George has launched a new range of Body Sculpture Vests in response to a growing concern over excess chest fat or ‘Moobs' (man boos) amongst British men.

This was done in response to a National Survey done by ASDA where 60% of the women admitted that their partners have beer belly and most probably moobs. Of these 60%, half of them would like to see their partners doing something to solve the problem.

The Body Sculpt Vests helps support and shape excess fat around the chest and stomach area to give the illusion of a flat chest. The Vest was launched for £7 and will be available only online for now so as to guarantee anonymity for those males that want to do something to solve the fat problem.

A recent survey from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) reported a 44% increase in male breast reduction surgery and stomach liposuction between 2007 and 2009. A representative for the ASDA's brand said that the launch reflects an increase in male body confidence issues. While woman have been provided with all the tool to control fat and boob issues (with push up bras and minimising bras), why can't men be given a helping hand too?

What could be the next item to come out for sale?..I leave it up to you imagination.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Henry Scandal has its repercussions

Everybody must have heard about the probably even watched Henry's (French Footballer) latest goal. Unfortunately for Henry he did not use his foot to put the ball in the net but used a "helping hand". As could have been expected, this goal lead to a huge wave of negative publicity against the French international player especially for his unprofessional behaviour.

What was the result of this negative publicity?

Apart from leading the same Henry to consider quitting Football, it left it's repercussions on brands which he used to represent. One of these brands is Gillette. The Sun (British Tabloid Newspaper) managed to notice something. Gillette had an advert on their website showing Federer, Tiger Woods and Henry all holding a symbol of their sport in their hand. It is useless to say that Henry was holding a Football in his hand.

However Gillette had to intervene and edit a little bit the advert on their French site. As can be seen from the following video ( ), in the French version of the advert the Football was removed from Henry's hand. The disappearance of the ball could be seen as an attempt to save Henry further embarrassment after his scandalous lack of sportsmanship last week.

His double handball helped him set up France's goal which sent them to next year's World Cup at the expense of the Republic of Ireland.

Gillette in reply to this claim denied they changed Henry's picture in response to the recent scandal. They insisted Henry was not pictured with the ball in his hand on the French website

The shaving firm's spokesman James Nunn said: "We have spoken to the French Gillette team and they are not aware of any recent changes that have been made to their website."

Will this have further repercussions?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Everybody wants Cadbury

Cadbury has become very attractive, not only for it chocolate but for all it's business. After the hostile takeover attempts by Kraft Foods' all other major confectionery brands are starting to see whether they can produce a counter offer to takeover the British Brand.

One of these companies is Hershey which is controlled by a charitable trust. The Trust has encouraged the management to consider making a counter offer for Cadbury of around $17bn in such a way to topple the $16.2bn offer made by Kraft Foods.

However the bid is not imminent as there are a lot of things that Hershey has to of these is to weigh the effect that such a huge transaction (that would include a combination of stock, debt and a multi billion-dollar contribution from deep-pocketed investors such as pension funds) would effect the overall viability of the company. Cadbury is larger than Hershey so the latter must be very careful not to end up like Porsche, who tried to take over Volkswagen but ended up being takeover by the same brand.

It is also thought that Hershey is seeking the cooperation of the Italy brand Ferrero so as to form a consortium that would bid for the British Brand. However, although Ferrero has expressed it's interest for Cadbury to the UK authorities, it is sill unclear whether Ferrero is ready to take this large step.

Hershey has an advantage over Kraft Foods as it has been working closely with Cadbury for a number of years by distributing the British Brand in the US. Hershey may be a welcome alternative in what has become an increasingly contentious standoff between Cadbury’s top executives and Kraft.

How would this end up? Will Kraft manage to takeover the British Brand or will Cadbury manage to hold back and defend itself from any takeover bid?

Friday, November 13, 2009

VW overtakes Toyota in manufacturer battle

A constant battle exist on who is to become the leading car manufacturers in the world and the crown seems to be always changing hands...This year the people seem to have wanted a leader driving a small unassuming little VW bug.

The U.K.’s Guardian wrote that, "Volkswagen-Porsche has overtaken Toyota to become the world's largest car manufacturer as the German group benefits from state-backed stimulus packages around the globe." Volkswagen was reported to have produced a total of 4.4 million vehicles so far this year. This is about 400,000 more cars than its closes rival Toyota. This milestone was possible as Volkswagen took over Porsche earlier this year (after ironically Porsche failed in the attempt to buy Volkswagen).

Apart from this there were other economical factors that helped VW to overtake Toyota...for example Toyota has closed some plans this year and also by looking at the net gainers from the European support for buying new cars, Volkswagen was the leader.

The question is whether VW can keep the lead as Toyota has an estimated total capacity to produce 10million cars a year...what do you think?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Marmite opens it's first branded shop in London

Unilever, the multinational FMCG group is trying to make the best out of it's marmite brand and after having undertaken various product extensions to it by introducing Marmite-flavoured rice cakes and breadsticks, it has now decided to trial it's first Marmite branded shop.

The shop opened this week on Regent Street and will be open seven days a week. The store stocks more than 100 Marmite-inspired products, some of which will be sold exclusively through the shop. It is surprising that the shop, apart from selling the famous jars of marmite and other marmite based food products, it will also be selling clothes, artwork and Christmas boxes.

This idea has been on Unilever's to-do-list from last year as the company wished to take a share of the lucrative and under served breakfast market. The tea & toast bar aims to promote itself through its social networking website such as Twitter.

So if you're in Regent Street it might be a good idea to drop...even if you don't like marmite as it sells other non food items...let us know what you think about the new shop.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Specsavers vs ASDA...who is the real specsaver?

A few weeks ago I posted an article relating to issue with patents and another article about Pimms and Sainsbury clash...apparently these are not the only clashes around. A issue has arisen between ASDA and Specsavers.

The issue arose due to the use by ASDA of a similar logo to the one used by Specsavers (see logos below). Specsavers have been using the logo for quite some time and hence said that the new logo being used by ASDA is misleading customers. Moreover, ASDA has been using a slogan which add a further link to Specsavers as it says 'Be a real spec saver at Asda'.

According to Specsavers this was done on purpose and Specsavers filed a court order for ASDA to stop using the logo and slogan. Given the hot issue, the judge agreed to treat the case urgently, ruling there was enough evidence that Specsavers' reputation was threatened by Asda Optician's marketing campaign, which was launched last month.

In response to this, Asda yesterday agreed to stop using the slogan after this week but will continue to use the logo. Do you think that ASDA will win this case or will Specsavers manage to beat the giant?