France: La Ronde

France's Perrier company has built an empire on water. Besides selling half of the roughly 2.5 billion bottles of mineral water that Frenchmen drink every year, it has the national franchise for Pepsi-Cola and is one of the largest makers of chocolate and other candy in France. Annual sales are $204 million. But when Perrier tried to expand its gastronomic conglomerate by growing big in the dairy industry, the ensuing spectacle resembled the script for a French farce:

Act I. Perrier desires Genvrain, the largest company in France's inefficient and fragmented dairy...

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