Kellogg Co. (K), known for its Kellogg's brand breakfast foods, is a global food company that sells cereals and snacks such as Cheez-It crackers, Pringles and Eggo waffles. Kellogg was founded as the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company in 1906. Since then, the company has expanded into a sprawling multinational that manufactures products in 21 countries and has operations in more than 180 countries. Kellogg posted net sales of $13.6 billion in 2019 and has a market cap of $22.8 billion as of June 10, 2020.
Kellogg originally was founded with a focus on creating healthy breakfast cereals. But as the company expanded, it added a growing number of high-sugar cereals. Now, as consumers become more health-conscious, Kellogg is reshaping its product portfolio to offer healthier food options along with its traditional products. One example is Kellogg's divestment in 2019 of its cookie, fruit snacks and ice cream business. It was sold for $1.3 billion to Ferrero Group. This included brands such as Keebler, Mother's, Famous Amos, Murray's, Little Brownie Bakers and Stretch Island.
But more important than divestments, Kellogg has reshaped its portfolio through a series of acquisitions. These deals have moved along two tracks. One track has been a focus on healthier products. The second track has focused on expanding Kellogg's traditional products, such as breakfast cereals, into international markets where there's room for growth. This expansion is key for Kellogg as consumers in North America and elsewhere increasingly choose non-cereal breakfasts.
Below, we'll look at 5 acquisitions, including one joint venture, executed by Kellogg. Note that Kellogg does not typically provide annual revenue and profit figures by subsidiary or brand.
- Type of business: Protein bars
- Acquisition price: $600 million
- Date purchased: October 6, 2017
Kellogg paid $600 million in 2017 to acquire Chicago Bar Co., makers of the RXBAR line of protein bars. Chicago Bar was founded in 2012 and grew rapidly into a nationally-recognized protein bar maker. The acquisition helped Kellogg expand further into healthier snack options, which it calls "wholesome snacks." The bars are made with egg whites, fruits and nuts and provide 12 grams of protein in 210-220 calories, ensuring health-conscious consumers that they know exactly what they're eating and what the nutritional value of each bar is.
- Type of business: Potato chips
- Acquisition price: $2.7 billion
- Date purchased: May 31, 2012
In 2012, Kellogg acquired Pringles potato chips from Proctor & Gamble Co. (PG) for $2.7 billion. At the time of the acquisition, Pringles had $1.5 billion in sales in more than 140 countries and was the second-largest player in the savory snacks business. The global presence was important for Kellogg, which had limited international reach, and the deal nearly tripled the size of Kellogg's international snacks business.
- Type of business: Food Conglomerate
- Acquisition price: Estimated $429 million
- Date purchased: October 13, 2016
Parati Group is a Brazilian food conglomerate best known for products including biscuits, powdered beverages, and pasta. Kellogg acquired Ritmo Investimentos, the controlling shareholder of Parati Group, in 2016, when Parati Group had estimated net sales of approximately $190 million. The deal was Kellogg's largest Latin American acquisition ever. It represented a key strategic move into an emerging market space where the cereal market is far less saturated than the U.S.
- Type of business: Cereal
- Acquisition price: $32 million
- Date purchased: June, 2000
Founded in 1984, Kashi is an organic breakfast cereal company with a focus on nutrition and ethical sourcing practices. Kellogg acquired the business in 2000 for $32 million. Since then, the Kashi product line has grown to include healthy meals, snack bars and waffles. The purchase complemented Kellogg's acquisition of plant-based foods company Worthington Foods, which Kellogg bought for $307 million the year before. Worthington was best-known for its veggie burgers. Together, these two purchases represent some of the earliest and most significant forays into health food brands for Kellogg, creating a healthier image for the company.
Joint venture with Tolaram Group
- Type of business: Diversified Food Products
- Acquisition price: Approximately $450 million (50% stake in Multipro, option to buy stake in Tolaram Africa Foods) ; investment of $420 million in Tolaram Africa Foods in 2018
- Date purchased: September 15, 2015 (initial deal) ; May 2, 2018 (acquisition of stake in Tolaram Africa Foods)
The final entry on our list is not exactly a company owned by Kellogg, but rather a significant joint venture for the company. Tolaram Group is a Singapore-based holding company founded in 1948. In 2015, Kellogg purchased a 50% stake in food sales and distribution outfit Multipro, a subsidiary of Tolaram Group. Kellogg also retained an option to buy a stake in Tolaram Africa Foods, Tolaram's African unit. In 2018, Kellogg exercised its option to acquire a stake in Tolaram Africa Foods, investing roughly $420 million on top of its earlier joint-venture interests. As with many of Kellogg's acquisitions, this one expanded its footprint in less-saturated, rapidly-growing markets.