The Merger Negotiations within the British Margarine Industry in the early 1900s: A Danish Perspective

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Abstract

The paper presents in details the amalgamation plans and the merger negotiations between Maypole Dairies Co., Otto Monsted Ltd., Gebroeder Jurgens and to a lesser extent Van den Bergh in the period 1899-1907. Based on materials from in particular Danish private archives, the article provides a picture of the competitive situation within the Britain margarine industry at the time and presents strategic, operational and personal considerations on the British-Danish side. The study reveals that the strong vertical axis between the Danish company, Monsted Ltd. and the British multiple retail chain, Maypole Dairy defined the rules of the game within the British margarine business for more than 20 years and thereby settled the agenda for the negotiations of a continental mega-merger in the early 1900s. Thus, the study supplies previous studies of the merger negotiations, and adds new evidence to the unfolding competitive struggle and strategic game at the beginning of the 20th century. The paper also seeks to explain why the merger negotiations at the end failed and left Monsted Ltd off the track. A slightly different timing might have changed the history of the European margarine industry, and Unilever might never have been realized?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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