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As speculated for weeks, Salesforce recently finished the acquisition of the popular messaging app, Slack. The total cost of this purchase is $27.7 billion. This acquisition unites a giant in business software with a newcomer with the mission to replace office emailing. As of Wednesday, November 25, 2020, Slack Technologies had a value of $17 billion and a decreasing stock of -1.81%.

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In the United States, approximately 257.3 million people own and use a cell phone.  Zoom out to the world as a whole and that number increases to 4.57 billion people.  In both cases, the statistics are only expected to show increases as global income rises, interconnectedness becomes normalized across land and sea, and technology continues to advance at a rapid clip.  Recently, the cell phone market in the U.S. made news when T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint was approved by a federal judge on February 11th, uniting the third and fourth largest players in the U.S. industry, respectively.

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Companies often seek growth opportunities by acquiring a company or merging with one either within its borders or internationally. Successful M&As (mergers and acquisitions) have proven to be one of the most effective ways to increase a company’s sales and/or profitability. It is also a method to push competitors outside the picture and take a larger part of the pie. M&A’s face a long list of challenges when it comes to M&A, but one of the most significant obstacles companies face in the pre-deal stage is government intervention.

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This is the first post in a five-part blog series focused on the consumer products industry.

This month’s blog series will provide an overview of the consumer product industry and its future outlook, and then we will analyze the industry by region: North America, South America, Asia, and Europe. By the end of this week, these blogs will offer you a thorough summary of what’s happening in the consumer product industry and emphasize the importance of the industry in the global market.

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2017 was a busy year for the food industry with many mergers and acquisitions taking place, and this is expected to continue into 2018.  According to the Food Institute data, 587 companies completed mergers and acquisitions last year.  This is a considerable increase from the 505 mergers and acquisitions from 2016 and the 410 from 2015.  In the United States, the food industry completed deals worth a total of $42 billion throughout 2017, up from the $27.1 billion in deals from 2016.  Mergers and acquisitions have been taking place in all sectors of the food and beverage industry, with the largest being the sale of Whole Foods to Amazon for $13.7 billion.  Along with Amazon, other large companies have also been expanding into the food distribution industry, including Walmart and Target.  Other examples of recent mergers and acquisitions include the sale of Snyder’s Lance Inc. to Campbell Soup and the sale of Nestlé’s US confectionary business to Ferrero.

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Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., a corporation based in Quebec, is currently in talks to sell Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd., a company that manufactures gastrointestinal drugs. Valeant originally acquired Salix in March 2015 for $14.5 billion. The purchase was part of a growth strategy of buying pharmaceutical businesses with reputable products and cutting their research costs to maximize profits. However, Valeant lost much stock value over the past year due to unethical business activities, including price hikes, unreliable accounting, and secret collusion. Recently, the company undertook major efforts to change its leadership, settle its legal suits, pay off its debts, and re-establish growth. Selling Salix could be instrumental to these plans; just this week, news of the potential sale increased Valeant's stock by 34%. While prospective clients have been mostly kept anonymous, Japan's Takeda Phamaceutical Co. Ltd. has expressed public interest.

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Alas! After months of waiting and a volatile year in the global markets, the Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it will be increasing rates from close to zero to between 0.25% and 0.5%. This is the first interest rate rise in almost a decade, and the effects of the increase will spark volatility in domestic markets as well as international markets. The rate hike is meant to signal economic strength in the United States by showing that the economy is strong enough to handle larger borrowing costs. Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve chair, explained that further rate hikes will be “gradual” in an effort not to slow economic recovery.

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2015 has been a huge year for mergers and acquisitions, with current projections predicting the total value for the year will be the highest since pre-recession levels. Well-known industry leaders such AbbVie and Pharmacyclics, Royal Dutch Shell and BG Group, and Kraft and Heinz have all announced mergers this year, creating huge international corporations to compete in the global market. Several sectors have seen a large share of the activity, one being the technology industry, especially in the electronics and semiconductor area. The semiconductor industry is the backbone of the technological industry, producing the chips used in computers, cell phones, and appliances.