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Krafty Way to Get a Pizza the Action

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The world in your hands: an overnight, overseas update

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This morning, Kraft (KFT) announced the sale of its North American frozen pizza business to Nestle (NSRGY) for $3.7 billion, freeing up more funds for its proposed purchase of British confectionery outfit Cadbury (CBY). This deal has knock-on implications with Nestle also confirming that it's not interested in making a rival bid for the candy company, which is trading lower in London today. The Swiss firm, flush with cash after pocketing $28.1 billion of Alcon's (ACL) riches yesterday, sees "synergies" at 7% of sales from today's deal. Combining Lean Cuisine, already under its umbrella, with junk food is a canny attempt at cornering the market.

Japan's Finance Minister, the cabinet's oldest member at 77, did nothing to quell talk today that ill health could force his resignation. While the government will go on, the country's aging is itself old news and overlaps with a fiscal stagnation that has now entered a third decade. Seems just yesterday that the Asian nation, which even owned Rockefeller Center, was a financial juggernaut whose powerhouse rise left many Americans fearful for the future. Instead, it's the latest to learn the difficult way that demography is destiny. Of course a similar fate could never await today's economic darling China, could it?

Iceland's leader hosts what could be a contentious press conference today, one that will command the attention of everyone from Holland to Britain. The fact that a faraway land the world knew little about now carries such enormous implications for the global financial system shows how interconnected the world economy has become.

And finally, Spain took over the European Union's rotating presidency on January 1. Since fresh figures show the country remains home to the continent's highest unemployment rate, it appeared a curious choice. And sure enough, the descent of an erstwhile Iberian powerhouse into a has-Bean was there for all to see.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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