Chapter 5

Welcome to Wal-Mart

The French press spoke with one voice when, in July 2005, there was a rumour that the American corporation PepsiCo was plotting to buy up the food giant, Danone. The entire political class lined up to defend one of the jewels in the nation's industrial crown. Shoulder to shoulder with the government for once, the Socialist opposition protested loudly. It warned the shareholders of PepsiCo that ‘the most extreme reactions might ensue’ were the American multinational to assume control of Danone, for ‘many French people would take very badly what they would regard as a direct attack upon their identity’. Unsurprisingly its turnover of more than €13 billion in 2004 and its 90,000 jobs ensures that this company looms ...

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