Skip navigation

Sealing Lips (and Deals)

Clorox Co. just received approval from federal regulators to close on its acquisition of Burt's Bees, the personal products company that makes lip balm, soaps and other skin products. The $925 million deal approved by the Federal Trade Commission took many in the industry by surprise when it was announced last month, since Burt’s Bees always exhibited a strong independent streak — certainly not a hive player.

But it was no more a surprise than Kellogg’s quiet announcement earlier this month that it had snapped up both Bear Naked, the natural/organic granola company; and California-based Wholesome & Hearty Foods Co., which markets vegetarian foods under the Gardenburger brand. This deal, worth a combined $122 million, only came to light when Kellogg’s filed its quarterly 10-Q report with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It seems the the whole health business is poised for more surprises in 2008. The question is: Will large corporations come out from behind the curtain and start providing the transparency health and wellness consumers have come to expect from the companies making their food?