Takeovers: Continental Food Fight

Continental Food Fight

The specter of a national treasure in foreign hands haunted the French last week as Swiss food conglomerate Nestle unwrapped a hostile bid to take over Source Perrier, France's bottled-water king and a company once deemed financially invulnerable. It was no solace that Italy's Agnelli group, which is bent on diversifying beyond automaker Fiat, was competing with Nestle for the rights to sell the famous little green bottles all over the world.

The complicated maneuvering around Perrier, which now involves about a dozen European food and drink manufacturers, investment firms and banks, may be the opening gambit of a Continent-wide scramble...

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