3M, General Mills get ‘mouthy’ with acquisitions; also: UnitedHealth lawsuit and Hormel’s new-product planning

3M is getting braces, and General Mills is going granola. 3M said today it’s buying a German orthodontics company called TOP-Service für Lingualtechnik GmbH. That’s a mouthful of a name for the company, which makes braces that are placed on the inner side of teeth so they aren’t visible.

Meanwhile, General Mills said it’s buying Denver-based Humm Foods, the maker of Larabar, the hippie energy bars made from unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices, as well as Jocalat chocolate bars. The brands will become part of General Mill’s Small Planet organic and natural foods group.

Snippets of emails and internal memos
unsealed Tuesday produced a flurry of stories on internal matters at UnitedHealth Group. Officials knew about top executives’ backdating practices as early at 1991, David Phelps reports in today’s Strib. The documents were released as part of a class-action lawsuit against the Minnetonka HMO. Reuters reports that the documents indicate current CEO Stephen Hemsley was more involved than previously thought — a claim the company denies. The Wall Street Journal links to a PDF of the new court filing.

There’s more to Hormel than Spam. The Austin-based food company said Tuesday it hopes to introduce $2 billion in new products by 2012, Associated Press reports. The company’s chief financial officer said at a consumer conference in New York that Hormel beat its previous two-year goal of $1 billion in new products by 2007. Since 2000, it’s rolled out microwave meals, turkey burgers and pre-smoked ribs for restaurants. It’s looking to focus now on refrigerated entrees, microwave meals, new turkey products and ethnic foods.

Do you have an inside scoop or news tip about a Minnesota company? Spotted something interesting in your RSS reader? Drop Business Agenda a note at dhaugen [at] minnpost [dot] com.

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