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Nestlé to buy Pfizer Nutrition for $11.85bn

The Swiss company says the acquisition would "enhance its position in global infant nutrition".


The Swiss food giant Nestlé has agreed to acquire the US-based Pfizer Nutrition for $11.85bn, in a bid to enhance its global infant nutrition business.

Pfizer Nutrition, formerly Wyeth Nutrition, is a developer of nutritional products that are scientifically designed to help meet the needs of infants and young children, as well as pregnant and lactating mothers.

The deal will help Nestlé boost sales in emerging markets, where Pfizer Nutrition derives 85 per cent of its sales. Nestlé estimates Pfizer Nutrition’s 2012 sales at $2.4bn.

Paul Bulcke, CEO of Nestlé, said:

Infant nutrition has been at the heart of our company since it was founded in 1866. Pfizer Nutrition is an excellent strategic fit and this acquisition underlines our commitment to be the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company. Its strong brands and product portfolio, its talented people dedicated to the success of its business, together with its geographic presence . . . will complement our existing infant nutrition business perfectly.

Pfizer Nutrition will be able to combine well-known brands such as S-26 Gold, SMA and Promil with Nestlé’s existing portfolio of successful brands such as Nan, Gerber, Lactogen, Nestogen and Cerelac.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.


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Geoffrey Howe dies, aged 88

Howe was Margaret Thatcher's longest serving Cabinet minister – and the man credited with precipitating her downfall.

The former Conservative chancellor Lord Howe, a key figure in the Thatcher government, has died of a suspected heart attack, his family has said. He was 88.

Geoffrey Howe was the longest-serving member of Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet, playing a key role in both her government and her downfall. Born in Port Talbot in 1926, he began his career as a lawyer, and was first elected to parliament in 1964, but lost his seat just 18 months later.

Returning as MP for Reigate in the Conservative election victory of 1970, he served in the government of Edward Heath, first as Solicitor General for England & Wales, then as a Minister of State for Trade. When Margaret Thatcher became opposition leader in 1975, she named Howe as her shadow chancellor.

He retained this brief when the party returned to government in 1979. In the controversial budget of 1981, he outlined a radical monetarist programme, abandoning then-mainstream economic thinking by attempting to rapidly tackle the deficit at a time of recession and unemployment. Following the 1983 election, he was appointed as foreign secretary, in which post he negotiated the return of Hong Kong to China.

In 1989, Thatcher demoted Howe to the position of leader of the house and deputy prime minister. And on 1 November 1990, following disagreements over Britain's relationship with Europe, he resigned from the Cabinet altogether. 

Twelve days later, in a powerful speech explaining his resignation, he attacked the prime minister's attitude to Brussels, and called on his former colleagues to "consider their own response to the tragic conflict of loyalties with which I have myself wrestled for perhaps too long".

Labour Chancellor Denis Healey once described an attack from Howe as "like being savaged by a dead sheep" - but his resignation speech is widely credited for triggering the process that led to Thatcher's downfall. Nine days later, her premiership was over.

Howe retired from the Commons in 1992, and was made a life peer as Baron Howe of Aberavon. He later said that his resignation speech "was not intended as a challenge, it was intended as a way of summarising the importance of Europe". 

Nonetheless, he added: "I am sure that, without [Thatcher's] resignation, we would not have won the 1992 election... If there had been a Labour government from 1992 onwards, New Labour would never have been born."

Jonn Elledge is the editor of the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric. He is on Twitter, far too much, as @JonnElledge.