MINNEAPOLIS, MN — General Mills, the Golden Valley, MN-based manufacturer of food products, has shaken up the processed foods industry by announcing the immediate spin-off of its Nature Valley brand of granola bars and all related assets to an “undisclosed Japanese buyer in the media and entertainment space.” The deal is expected to be valued at $600 – $800 million.
Investors are reacting immediately to the news, with General Mills stock up more than 1% at last check on Wall Street. “It’s phenomenal,” said Citibank analyst Jay Wen. “This is the most exciting move in the food products space I’ve ever seen. Yes, it’s a little strange that an animation studio would want to buy an entire division of a major Fortune 500 company, but I’ve seen weirder things happen. Besides, nobody liked Nature Valley anyways. The bars crumble all over your Ferragamo ties. I’m glad General Mills is getting rid of this product.”
Across the Pacific, reaction was mixed, with analysts and investors expressing skepticism at the possibility of an animation studio successfully running a processed foods company. “Do we even eat granola here?” one analyst at Nomura Securities wondered. “I feel like Japan already has such a strong and unique tradition of snack foods. There’s no way this American stuff will sell well here. It’ll be a bust.”
An anonymous source close to the deal said, “The buyer believes that the anime industry has started to dry up. Profits are low, turnover is at an all-time high, and people are becoming cynical about Lawson tie-in product placement. Language and communication barriers prevented the buyer from entering into fruitful negotiations with General Mills regarding usage of its brand in potential product placement deals, so the buyer decided to simply acquire the brand and all of its related assets.”
When pressed by to offer an explanation for how the buyer expects to finance the acquisition, the source said, “Oh, it’ll be fine. We don’t really have any costs. As you know, all of our animation staff are cheap as free. At least now they’ll have some free granola bars to keep them healthy when they work 20-hour days. This deal represents a big step forward in working conditions.”