Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is to see a rocky week for its stock after allegations of corruption at its Mexican subsidiary (. The company’s stock was down almost 4% to 59.99 at time of writing in pre market trading today. The company’s stock has been on a good run in the last year rising in price by 17% in the last 12 months.
Allegations of bribery broke last Saturday in a New York Times Report. The scandal centers on the firm’s Mexican subsidiary ((Wal-mart de Mexico S A B de C V (PINK:WMMVY)), where management apparently bribed government officials in 2005 in order to secure market dominance. Wal Mart owns 69% of the Mexican company. The report alleged that executives in the parent company knew about the bribery in Mexico and covered it up.
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Wal Mart released a statement concerning the corruption scandal on Saturday, declaring its concern over the investigations. The company should be worried. If the allegations ring true the cost of investigating the scandal will be large and could hit the company more than financially. Executives who had a role in the cover up will surely lose their jobs and the retail firm’s reputation will be badly damaged for some time.
Nestle S.A (PINK:NYSRGY), (EBR:NESTS) announced this morning that it was to acquire Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) baby food company, Pfizer Nutrition. The deal was reported to be worth $11.9 billion and is expected to close in June of next year. The move reflects Nestle’s strategy of gaining greater prominence in emerging markets. The company already has a base in Latin America. The latest move will see it gain a strong foothold in Asia and the Middle east.
It is not surprising that Pfizer was happy to part with the company either. The pharmaceuticals giant acquired the business as part of a deal in 2009 that saw it acquire Wyeth. The company is trying to focus on its core drug development andd sales business making this deal a natural and reasonable one for the company.
The price paid by Nestle is more than would have been expected for the business but in a bidding war with Danone and looking for a foothold with legacy in emerging markets made the move a strategic forward looking one.
Nestle opened at 60.80 today and was down by about 0.5% at time of writing.
Vodafone Group PLC (LON:VOD) (NASDAQ:VOD)was another mover in acquisitions in recent days. The company is to acquire Cable and Wireless Worldwide PLC (LON:CW). The deal is reputed to be worth $1.7 billion. C&W operate a telecommunications business worldwide with much of their business taking place in the United Kingdom. Vodafone admitted to finding attractive the company’s fixed fibre network and pointed to it as one of the main motivators for the deal.
Vodafone, which currently operates a wireless service in the UK, can use that network as a method for bringing data sent over its wireless network back to processing facilities. This service is called backhaul. Without its own fixed network Vodafone is left renting from companies that do at what is a much more expensive rate. Putting fixed networks of fiber optics in place is a capita intensive and drawn out procedure making acquisition and ideal solution to the problem.
Vodafone opened at 170.80 on the London Exchange earlier this morning and traded slightly up on news of the acquisition. C&W said it has advised shareholders to accept the deal and Vodafone stated that their major shareholders are in support of the Acquisition.
Kellogg Company (NYSE:K) announced its earnings for the first quarter of 2012 this morning. Citing weak demand for its products the company revealed earnings of $1 per share, slightly higher than analysts had been expecting. The company did however cut its forecast for the full year citing problems in European demand as one of its major concerns. Today’s report revealed that revenue at the company had fallen year on year by about 1.3% and expects that trend to continue throughout the year.
The downgraded forecast for 2012 shows the company earning between $3.18 and $3.30 for the full year. Analysts forecast a return of $3.48 for the firm. Kellogg reported a much better than expected end to 2011 with profit up by 23% from the year before. They had suggested a target 0f $3.25 to $3.37 for the year in that report. In their Q4 report they reaffirmed their original positive outlook for 2012 though that has obviously been superseded by today’s earnings. In that report the company said it expected revenues for 2012 to rise by 4-5% over the whole year.
The firm’s shares were down almost 5% to 51.46 at time of writing on the results. Analyst’s overblown expectations were obviously priced into the normally quite stable stock and the readjustment is taking place today. Apart from the lower than previously forecast results in 2012, which now are all but certain, the firm faces few greater risks in the market and should remain steady in future as the economy recovers.