business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  From CNBC:

"Kellogg is planning to separate into three independent public companies, sectioning off its iconic brands into distinct snacking, cereal and plant-based businesses."  The decision last week came "a decade after Kellogg’s $2.7 billion purchase of Pringles, which signaled the company’s shift to focusing on the global snacks business with people increasingly eating more often between meals. Kellogg, along with rivals like Frito-Lay-owner PepsiCo and Oreo-cookie owner Mondelez, have leaned into the trend by introducing more snacks and snapping up smaller brands … Cereal sales, by contrast, have stagnated in the U.S. as people eat on the go and reach for a greater variety of options in the morning. Brands including Special K, Froot Loops and Rice Krispies had for decades been a foundation of Kellogg, but are no longer seen as key growth drivers for the company."

The names of the three companies haven't been announced yet, and CEO Steve Cahillane has conceded that the iconic Kellogg's may not survive as a corporate name, though it certainly will remain a brand name in the cereal category.

Much that I've read suggests that Kellogg's is making this move proactively, to avoid being forced to make the same moves by some activist investor.  The other suggestion that I've seen is that it seems likely that at some point one or more of these companies could be absorbed into a larger entity … but that speculation never seems to focus on the cereal business.  I wonder if that's a certainty;  GE doesn't make appliances or light bulbs anymore, and so there's no reason that Kellogg's, however it is structured, has to sell cereal.

•  From the New York Times:

"A federal appeals court on Friday granted a temporary reprieve to Juul Labs that will allow it to keep its e-cigarettes on the market, pending further court review of a decision just a day earlier by the Food and Drug Administration to ban sales of the company’s products.

"The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a temporary stay that had been sought by Juul. The brief order by the appeals court cautioned that the stay was “ should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits.”

"The stay involves the F.D.A.’s order on Thursday, when the agency said Juul had to stop selling its products because it had provided conflicting and insufficient data that prevented the F.D.A. from assessing the potential health risks of its products."

• From Fox News:

"Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is dropping three syllables from its name.

"The world-famous instant noodle company announced it has shortened the brand’s name to Kraft Mac & Cheese after 85 years of business.

"The macaroni and cheese giant revealed … that the name change is part of a 'new brand identity,' which includes a redesigned logo and a 'noodle smile' illustration … Kraft Mac & Cheese explained that the name change was made to reflect the way customers 'organically' reference the brand."