business news in context, analysis with attitude

  • In the UK, William Morrison Supermarkets will sell four Safeway supermarkets to Wal-Mart’s Asda Group, part of its agreement with the government to dispose 52 units after its acquisition of Safeway Plc. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

  • Sainsbury management has said that it is not negotiating with any other company about a possible acquisition for the British retail chain.

    Speculation about just such a takeover has been rife lately, with Target mentioned as a prominent possibility.

  • Canadian private label soft drink manufacturer Cott Corp. reportedly has signed a new contract with an unidentified “major mass merchandiser” to supply it with own-label beverages.

    Speculation among analysts suggests that the company is Target, though Cott is not commenting. The reality, however, is that there are only three “major mass mechandisers” – Wal-Mart, Target, and Kmart – and whether Kmart can be considered in that league is a matter up for debate. And Wal-Mart currently is Cott’s biggest customer.

    Stay tuned.

  • Dean Foods, the largest U.S. dairy company, announced that it is getting out of the nutritional beverage business and closing a Michigan plant where the drinks are manufactured.

    The company cited a “deterioration” in the nutritional beverages business.

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that Al Yeganeh plans to begin selling his bisques, chowders and gumbos at some 1,000 franchised locations throughout the country.

    If you don’t know the name Al Yeganeh, maybe you know him better by the name given a similar character on the old “Seinfeld” TV show: “The Soup Nazi.” (He was portrayed as a tyrannical entrepreneur who ruled his tiny soup kitchen with an iron fist, even denying servings to people he didn’t like.)

    However, Yeganeh won’t allow franchisees to use the “Soup Nazi” name. It seems he finds it offensive, and thinks he helped Jerry Seinfeld more than Seinfeld helped him.
KC's View:
Actually, it sort of sounds like the “Seinfeld” writers got the “Soup Nazi” part just about right…