10 biggest brand acquisitions and partnerships of 2021

By Zion Rufus

Across industries, 2021 has seen a wide range of some of the biggest and most unexpected sell-offs, acquisitions, mergers, and account movements. Despite the pandemic, several sectors including FMCG, aviation, global trade, marketing communications, and insurance amongst others recorded major rebounds in the outgoing year.

According to British-Dutch multinational professional services network— KPMG, 2021 was a blowout year for mergers and acquisitions, and 2022 could be even bigger.

Global mergers and acquisition activities  in 2021 easily surpassed the pre-pandemic level and nearly matched the peaks of 2015 and 2007. With easy access to capital, low interest rates, and a recovering global economy, deal makers around the world announced $5.1 trillion worth of M&A transactions in 2021, up from $3.8 trillion in 2020 and the highest level since 2015. Below are some of the biggest deals of 2021.

CVC Capital Partners acquires Unilever global tea division in $5.1 billion deal

Following a year-long review, FMCG giant, Unilever sold off its global tea business Ekaterra to private equity and investment advisory firm—CVC Capital Partners in a $5.1 billion deal.

According to Unilever, Ekaterra which hosts a portfolio of 34 tea brands including Lipton, PG Tips, Pukka Herbs and TAZO will be sold to CVC’s Capital Fund VIII on a cash and debt free basis in a process that is expected to conclude in the second half of 2022.

Coca-Cola acquires full ownership of BodyArmor in $5.6 billion cash deal

In November, The Coca-Cola Company acquired full ownership of sports drink maker, BodyArmor. The purchase makes it Coca-Cola’s largest brand acquisition to date.

Coca-Cola had initially bought a 15 per cent stake in BodyArmor in 2018, which then made it the brand’s second-largest shareholder.

Heineken acquires 1.9 billion Champion Breweries’ shares

To further bolster its equity in the Nigerian beer market, Heineken B.V., the Dutch brewer purchased an additional 1.9 billion ordinary shares of Champion Breweries located in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state. Heineken purchased the new shares at N2.60 per unit at a total of N4.95 billion on January 7,2021. With the share acquisition, Heineken holds a total of 84.7 percent in Champion Breweries.

AT&T merges WarnerMedia with Discovery in $43billion deal

In May, AT&T who owns CNN, HBO, Cartoon Network, TBS, TNT and the Warner Bros. studio merged its WarnerMedia’s  premium entertainment, sports and news assets with Discovery’s leading nonfiction and international entertainment and sports businesses to create a premier, standalone global entertainment company.

Mastercard, Uber extend partnership to boost digitisation and financial inclusion across Africa

The extended partnership with Mastercard will enable Uber to drive digitisation across their business operations, leveraging Mastercard’s single infrastructure to meet all types of payments needs across Uber Rides, Uber Eats, Uber Pass, and Uber for Business.

The collaboration is expected to boost cashless payments, drive digital payment acceptance, rewards loyalty, while supporting Uber’s continued social impact collaboration. Mastercard and Uber’s long-term partnership has continued in the bid to grow a new strategic initiative focusing on digital payments and advancing financial inclusions which will be facilitated by Mastercard across the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

Publicis Groupe acquires CitrusAd to lead new generation of identity-led retail media

In July, Publicis Groupe  announced the acquisition of CitrusAd, a software as a service (SaaS) platform optimizing brands marketing performances directly within retailer websites. With more than 50% of its activities in the U.S., CitrusAd is present across 22 countries and 6 industries. CitrusAd provides its world-class technology to more than 70 major retailers globally and over 4,000 brands are utilizing their self-served platform.

Amazon acquires Metro Goldwyn Meyer for $8.45 billion

In May, Amazon acquired historic film and TV company Metro Goldwyn Meyer (MGM) for $8.45 billion. The notable acquisition makes the e-commerce giant the owner of a library of content that’s reported to consist of around 4,000 films and 17,000 hours of TV. The acquisition will as well help Amazon attract even more big-spending Prime subscribers as its Prime Video service competes with the likes of Netflix and Disney Plus.

WPP strikes global advertising partnership with TikTok

Global agency, WPP announced a global partnership with video-sharing social networking service—Tik Tok to focus on delivering new creative opportunities for WPP agencies and clients. WPP launched the global partnership to enable its agencies and their clients to tap into the culture-shaping impact and reach of the short form video and digital platform. The partnership will also allow WPP to gain early access to advertising products in development, such as augmented reality.

AppLovin acquires Twitter’s mobile monetization platform in $1.05 billion deal

Social messaging platform, Twitter sold off its mobile monetization platform– MoPub to marketing software company, AppLovin.

MoPub, which provides monetization solutions for mobile app publishers and developers around the globe, generated $188 million in revenue for Twitter in 2020, which represents nearly 5.9% of the company’s 2020 advertising revenue. Valued at  $1.05 billion, the sale will accelerate the development and growth of the company’s owned and operated revenue products as well as drive growth across key areas for the service including performance-based advertising, small and medium-sized business offerings, and commerce initiatives.

Nestlé acquires Bountiful in $5.75billion deal
In August, Nestlé announced the successful completion of its acquisition of the core brands of The Bountiful Company, including Nature’s Bounty, Solgar, Osteo Bi-Flex, Puritan’s Pride, Ester-C, and Sundown in a multimillion dollar deal. The closing of the deal establishes Nestlé Health Science as the industry leader in vitamins, minerals, herbals and supplements (VMHS) in mass retail, specialty retail, e-commerce and direct-to-consumer in the US, while providing new products and sales channels around the world.



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