Nestlé is serious about being the world's leading food company: it wants to be #1 in pet food too, with brands including Purina, Friskies, Felix and Alpo. In 2000 the group announced the acquisition of Ralston Purina, America's foremost pet food business. Once a mammoth conglomerate with interests ranging from pet food and grocery products to batteries and ice hockey, Ralston Purina had undergone a gradual dismantling since the late 1980s. Merged with Nestlé's existing Friskies business to form Nestlé Purina, the company now sits behind Mars in global cat and dog food, but is the clear leader in the US. It is also now a major force within Nestlé, generating around 12% of group sales and 15% of profits.
Selected American Express advertising
American Express? That'll do nicely, especially in North America, where the brand remains arguably the card of choice for business users. But increasingly the company is out to capture the hearts, minds and purses of ordinary consumers in order to counter sharp declines in corporate expenditure. This has pushed American Express into fierce competition with credit card operators Visa and MasterCard, who have tried unsuccessfully to block any further inroads by their smaller rival. Those anti-competitive practices were finally blocked by the US Supreme Court in 2004. Unlike its main credit rivals, all of whose business is transacted via a global network of partner banks, American Express actually maintains a direct relationship with the vast majority of its 80m-plus cardholders. It is the world's largest card-issuer by far.
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