What: Shares of Mead Johnson Nutrition CO (NYSE:MJN) were looking healthier today on reports that European food heavyweights Danone and Nestle were interested in acquiring the children's nutrition specialist. As of 12:04 p.m. ET, the stock had gained 9.6%.
So what: Down 26% since Feb. 2015, the Enfamil infant formula maker's stock has become more affordable as a takeover target. Reports circulated this morning that the company is working with Lazard on a possible buyout by either Danone and Nestle, two prominent baby-food makers.
Over the last year, competition among the major baby-food makers has increased as Danone and Nestle lowered their prices to grab market share in Asia. As a result, the company's profits slid along with the stock price.
Considering Mead Johnson was once a subsidiary of Bristol-Myers Squibb, spun off from the drugmaker in 2009, it's not a surprise that it would put itself up for auction as the competitive landscape gets tougher.
Now what: Asia is considered the fastest-growing market for baby-food formula, and Mead Johnson derives a third of its revenue from that region. That stake in a growing market makes it a good fit for its two pursuers.
Since two parties are said to be interested in acquiring Mead Johnson, a bidding war could ensue. With Mead Johnson's shares still reasonably valued after today's spike, they could continue to rally as more news emerges on a potential buyout.