Total Business Magazine

This Week’s 5 Must-Read Stories You May Have Missed

McKinsey may be benefiting from secret $12b hedge fund, Pinterest reportingly filing for IPO and vegan sausage roll launch sees Greggs shares skyrocket.

We caught up with our columnist, business transformation expert, author of The Interim Revolution and founder and CEO of Sullivan and Stanley, Pat Lynes, to discuss the biggest news stories you wouldn’t have wanted to miss last week.

1. Sainsbury’s and Asda merge on the rocks

The Competitions and Market Authority (CMA) have stuck a spanner in the works around Sainsbury’s plan to buy Asda with concerns around less choice and higher prices for customers. Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe (the guy who was caught singing ‘we’re in the money’)  is obviously not that happy about this, as the authority can block this whole thing, or force the sales of assets and operations.

The deal would create the biggest supermarket chain in the UK with 2,800 stores and a 31.4% market share.  Patrick O’Brien, UK retail research director for GlobalData, said the CMA’s provisional findings had “devastated any prospect of the merger going ahead”

2. McKinsey may be benefiting from secret $12b hedge fund

So the back story here is that unlike the other big management consulting firms, McKinsey runs it’s own investment fund. It claims that it (MIO Partners) operates completely independently as a separate entity so there is no conflict.

Well following a scathing expose from the New York Times many of the hedge fund’s directors are ex-McKinsey vets, and some of McKinsey’s consulting clients are also MIO investments.

McKinsey have quickly denied the allegation, commenting that there is a strict information barrier between the two and 90% of MIO Partners capital is managed by third parties.

Stories like this are becoming commonplace for the established management consulting firms and perhaps it could be the start of the power decentralisation and loosening grip on corporate society that they’ve had.

3. Pinterest Reportedly Files for IPO

This one is hot off the press. The New York Times has reported that they have confidentially filed the paperwork and join the likes of Lyft, Slack and Postmates who have all done the same in recent times.

It’s no surprise either. They have raised $1.5 billion in funding and according to CNBC was on track to earn $1 billion in revenue last year.

The visual discovery engine has harnessed AI and recommendations to sort its categories into very specific subjects and have also turned into an advertising giant with sponsored imagery.

Pinterest Cofounder said “ “The lasting impact of visual search won’t be any specific product or feature. Rather what it enables people to do: turn anything they see into something they can use to discover more on the internet.”

4. Greggs can thank Piers Morgan after the release of vegan sausage roll sees sales boost

Well, it turns out it was much more than a media storm. If you somehow missed it, Greggs brought out a vegan sausage roll last month, targeting those who are taking part in the exceedingly popular ‘Veganuary’. Piers Morgan kicked up a big fuss and what followed was national attention – a PR dream.

Because of that, there was a 7% rise in Greggs’ share price which prompted the bakery to lift its annual profit outlook. A 10% increase in profits compared to the same time last year is a pretty good return.

It was great marketing from Greggs and social media went into overdrice once it got some momentum. I do wonder if they paid Piers Morgan for the ‘free publicity’ though…

5. Plant-based tuna set to hit the market

As a big supporter of ocean health and with overfishing and fish farming that can spread disease, I welcome alternative and innovative ideas like this. Good Catch have begun to roll out plant-based ‘tuna’ in Wholefoods and Thrive Markets with a view to expand into other retailers in the not too distant future.

The product is made up of six legumes as its base with algae and seaweed to play with the taste. Nutritionally, it’s pretty similar to the real thing, with good measures of protein and omega 3 whilst missing out on the nasty mercury found in a lot of canned tuna.

Basically, it tastes like tuna, has the same health benefits as tuna, but isn’t tuna.

From all reports, it does taste like fresh fish you might get in a restaurant – I’d certainly be willing to give it a go.

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