Conagra Brands tried and failed to acquire Pinnacle Foods in 2017, but rumors of an acquisition never truly died down. In fact, when activist investment firm JANA Partners acquired a stake in Pinnacle, rumors of an acquisition intensified. The possibility of Conagra acquiring Pinnacle appeared in the headlines throughout Spring and Summer of 2018, and the deal was ultimately announced in late June. An investor using JetTrack would have seen interesting flight activity on June 12 that would have indicated a deal might be imminent —allowing the investor to make a play before disclosure of the acquisition.
06/11/2018: News broke of a rumored acquisition of BSX (Boston Scientific) by SYK (Stryker). Both companies have said they will not comment on market rumors or speculation. Other potential acquirers could include JNJ (Johnson & Johnson) and MDT (Medtronic).
For nearly 2 years, Qualcomm has been trying to close its $44 billion acquisition of NXP, a Dutch semiconductor company. One of the major hurdles for Qualcomm has been getting approval from 9 separate regulatory jurisdictions around the world. To date, Qualcomm has earned signoff from 8 regulatory bodies — with China the only remaining holdout. But President Trump’s trade war and China’s desire to protect its own semiconductor companies have slowed progress toward approval. JetTrack provides a unique glimpse into the frequency and length of visits by Qualcomm executives to Beijing as they push toward a deal.
When news emerged in early 2018 that Wyndham was acquiring La Quinta, it was easy to look back over the past year’s signals and see that the $1.8 billion deal made sense for both companies. Wyndham had clearly entered growth mode, splitting into two companies and making a minor acquisition with its $170 million purchase of AmericInn. And La Quinta had clearly placed itself on the open market, spinning off its real estate assets to boost a possible sale price. But, using JetTrack, an analyst would have seen Wyndham executives make a rare trip to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where La Quinta is headquartered, just weeks after the AmericInn deal closed — and then make a return trip just 2 days before the acquisition of La Quinta was announced.
In summer 2017, news broke of Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods. In the months leading up to the announcement, Amazon showed increasing interest in brick-and-mortar grocery operations. At the same time, activist investor Jana Partners took a nearly 9% stake in Whole Foods — bringing with it demands for performance improvement. While analysts could have speculated Whole Foods would be a good acquisition target for Amazon, JetTrack would have validated those signals by showing unusual visits by Amazon executives to Whole Foods’ home city of Austin — as well as a rare trip by Whole Foods executives to Amazon’s home city of Seattle.