By Barbara Soderlin / World-Herald staff writer: A new year will bring a new name for ConAgra Foods, and that has some observers weighing how long the Conagra Brands name could be around.
“We’re seeing a very low chance of a potential takeover,” said Jonathan Morgan, head of research at The Edge, a New Jersey firm studying spinoffs. “Most likely there may be one or two other splits or sales of particular segments going forward, but I don’t necessarily see that there’s going to be an entire takeover of (Conagra Brands).”
The biggest reason is the current size of the business, he said, echoing the $20 billion figure. Another reason, he said, is that ConAgra’s product lineup is behind the times: “Everyone is improving their health these days.” He said the company would have to trim its brand lineup and improve its top brands before it would attract interest — exactly what ConAgra is working at now. Then, it’s possible: “It could happen in the next five years,” he said.
Chief Executive Sean Connolly hasn’t talked about a possible sale and has framed his decisions so far as being necessary to prevent a takeover, in a business environment where activist investors are demanding cost-cutting and merger activity has been high.