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FB Roundup: Appleby, Ferrero, and Kraft Heinz

Hackers crack offshore law firm; Ferrero eats up Ferrara; and Kraft in peanut butter battle down under.

Hackers crack offshore law firm

Ultra-high net worth clients of a Bermuda-based law firm may be at risk of having their financial details exposed, as journalists investigate information stolen in a cyber-attack.

Appleby, an offshore law firm, said in a statement released 24 October it had looked into allegations made by a number of journalists following a hack of its system last year. The company was “satisfied that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing, either on the part of ourselves or our clients”.

The journalists, according to The Telegraph, have got hold of stolen data, with the security breach was confirmed by the firm. The Telegraph reported: “Appleby, a firm based in Bermuda with offices in many tax havens, said it was in the process of warning clients that they may be implicated in a massive leak of sensitive information.”

Appleby said it advised clients on “legitimate and lawful” ways to conduct business.

“We do not tolerate illegal behaviour. It is true that we are not infallible. Where we find that mistakes have happened we act quickly to put things right and we make the necessary notifications to the relevant authorities.”

A number of media outlets were comparing the leak to the Panama Papers. It was also being reported that more information was likely to emerge in the press.

Ferrero eats up Ferrara

In a tongue-twisting acquisition, Italian confectioner Ferrero International has agreed to buy the US-based candy maker Ferrara, for an unconfirmed $1.3 billion.

Ferrero’s most famous products include Nutella and Tic Tacs, and It is taking over the brand responsible for Lemonheads. The Wall Street Journal reported Ferrero was also eyeing a piece of another US candy household name, Nestle.

Ferrera has been under the control of private equity group L Catterton since 2012, and before that was owned by the family of the founder Salvatore Ferrara, who started making chocolate covered almonds in 1908.

Ferrero is controlled by the eponymous family. Third generation family member Giovanni Ferrero is the sole chief executive, although he used to share the top job with his brother Pietro, who died in an accident in 2011.

Ferrero’s revenue was €10.3 billion ($12 billion) in the 2016-17 financial year, while its new acquisition turns over about $1 billion a year.

Kraft in peanut butter battle down under

Kraft Heinz, the food conglomerate controlled by Warren Buffet’s family, is busy down under, buying up a coffee company, and locked in a legal wrangle over a yellow peanut butter lid.

The company has agreed to buy two Australia and New Zealand-based brands: Cerebos Food & Instant Coffee, and Asian Home Gourmet, both owned by Japan’s Suntory Food & Beverage.

The company said in a statement the AUD $290 million ($222 million) takeover reinforced the company’s commitment to Australasia.

Meanwhile, the US giant is involved in an intellectual property dispute over a yellow peanut butter lid with Australia’s Bega Cheese.

Bega has the right to produce Kraft peanut butter under an agreement which expires next year, when Kraft plans to re-establish its peanut butter brand in Australia itself. However, Bega has claimed it can continue selling peanut butter using a recipe and distinctive yellow-lidded jar very similar to Kraft’s.

Kraft, which has annual revenue of more than $26 billion, has taken Bega to court over the matter.

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