Lately I've found myself acquiring more of a taste for French dairy and water company Danone
Danone's shares spiked up more than 10% on Tuesday on renewed rumors that PepsiCo was preparing a bid to take over the company. This follows a related rumor from earlier in July when a French magazine reported that PepsiCo had bought a 3% stake in the company -- something PepsiCo denied at the time.
Whether the rumors are true this time or not, it's got some of the French in an uproar. The French finance minister has reportedly been quoted as saying that he has "taken charge of the case," and not-so-veiled references have been made about the government using the state-owned CDC bank to help fight off PepsiCo.
You've got to admire this uniquely French take on capitalism, don't you? Capitalism is great if it brings more euros home to roost, but if it means that a beloved French icon might fall into the hands of barbaric, beer-swilling Americans, then it's time to climb the ramparts and fight off the interloper by any means necessary. Then again, if you're CNOOC
In any case, a lot of ink has already been spilled as to possible scenarios should PepsiCo launch an official bid. It has been suggested that Nestle (NQB: NSRGY) could come in as a white-knight buyer - apparently, Swiss buyers are less objectionable since they too are Francophones.
In reality, though, that would be a tricky deal -- Nestle and Danone are Nos. 1 and 2 in Europe for water and dairy, so there would be substantial antitrust issues. Of course, if the French government is willing to play fast and loose to get a desired outcome, who knows whether those antitrust issues would be deal breakers.
Others have speculated that the likes of Coca-Cola
All these rumors are fun and interesting to a point. And I can't say that I don't enjoy the thought of the present French government going apoplectic at the idea of "losing" a beloved French brand like Danone. But in reality, any deal will be tough to complete and shareholders are the ones who will get batted around in the meantime.
I'd never buy a stock just because of a possible takeover, and this is certainly no exception. What's more, the stock's spike up has robbed it of a chunk of its margin of safety. So whatever the outcome, I'll be watching the battles from the sideline as an interested spectator -- not as an invested owner.
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).
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