United States

Q1 2019 Consumer Products Industry Spotlight



Dealmakers in the CP space have looked to add new capacities, often outside of a platform company’s core competency, with increasing frequency over the past couple of years. Add-on transactions have come with some significant implications for the due diligence process, however, including greater scrutiny of the information technology and operations of a target company as part of the confirmatory and pre-acquisition due diligence process.

Meanwhile, some companies have already started to hire senior level operations professionals in their review of the enterprise. This decision has helped sponsors better understand the capabilities of potential add-on targets and gain greater insights on standardized processes or systems, and it represents a proactive measure that a seller can take to alleviate the pain points of prospective buyers down the line.

Big picture

Restaurants and retail, considered for several years to represent sectors with little need to innovate to remain competitive, have benefited from sustained interest of financial sponsors looking for innovative approaches to the space. Industry consolidation has resulted in the introduction of new technologies to improve the digital experience for customers. In addition, the appetite of private equity (PE) investors for more exposure to the consumer products (CP) space has coincided over the past several quarters with better inputs sourcing for restaurants along with supply chain improvements. Meanwhile, tax savings have spurred capital expenditure across the enterprise, with additional bonus depreciation under recent reforms supporting upgrades to point-of-sale systems, greater integration of financial systems and improvements  to food safety technologies, including those that exploit the benefits of increased visibility brought about by the blockchain. These moves have helped some players in CP to realize the benefits of customer service models that bring the consumer experience to the forefront.

Looking ahead

Retailers stand to benefit from the advent of 5G wireless technology over the coming year. With improvements to connectivity accruing to the Internet of Things, companies can capitalize on existing network architecture to expand the digital experience for consumers by introducing new services such as personalized digital signage along with virtual and augmented reality experiences in store.

The use of data scientists has grown in the CP space of late, as firms leverage data to improve realtime decisions, prevent future losses, optimize existing systems and sustain customer engagement. But these transitions to the digital experience also represent unprecedented cybersecurity challenges. Although widespread adoption of 5G will allow businesses to benefit from advanced technologies such as video to assist in pattern recognition among shoppers, financials and strategics alike must also proceed with caution during the diligence process to identify the potential security risks of legacy systems

Datagraphic available for download.

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