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BNET Daily Dispatch: Nestle, Vonage, Toyota, and Retail Sales

  • Nestle is buying Gerber from Novartis AG for $5.5 billion, making it the world's biggest baby food company. Nestle said today that the acquisition would give its nutrition division annual sales of about $8.21 billion, and it will boost its operating profit margin immediately. Nestle also said it will take Gerber's operations globally.

  • Vonage said today its CEO, Michael Snyder, resigned and would be replaced by chairman Jeffrey Citron until the company finds a permanent replacement. One month ago Vonage lost a key patent lawsuit against Verizon, which threatens to cripple its growth. Vonage also said it will slash an undisclosed amount of jobs and administrative expenses, reducing its costs by $30 million through the rest of 2007.

  • Toyota announced today that it promoted James Press to president of its North American operations, making Press the first non-Japanese ever to sit on the automaker’s board of directors. The move comes amid escalating worries at Toyota of a possible political backlash in the United States, where Japanese carmakers have prospered while American rivals are struggling. It also shows Toyota's efforts to expand internationally as it now produces and sells more vehicles overseas than in Japan.

  • U.S. retailers, helped by the Easter holiday, posted strong March sales that beat analysts' expectations.  But many retailers warned that April's results would probably not be as robust. Retailers throughout the industry reported high sales last month, including teen retailers, discounters, and other specialty apparel chains.  
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