Ransomware Attack May Delay Vegemite’s Return to Down Under Control


A global ransomware attack may delay the finalization of a food industry M&A deal.

Vegemite is a black spread for toast, sandwiches, and crackers made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract. Doesn’t really sound that appetizing to the untrained palette, but it is beloved in Australia where folks have been known to eat a Vegemite sandwich. In January, Australian dairy company Bega Cheese Ltd. announced that it would acquire the Vegemite brand for A$460 million ($353 million) from Illinois-based Mondelez International Inc. by June 30. 

However, Vegemite’s return home to Australia, where it was invented in 1923, may be delayed due to a recent global ransomware attack, according to Bloomberg LP. Ransomware is a malware that blocks victims’ access to their data until the victims pay ransom. Mondelez’s computers were affected by the recent attack, according to a filing with the Australian Securities Exchange by Bega Cheese, Bloomberg LP said.

Ransomware called Petya June 27 spread around the world, hitting thousands of companies, including pharmaceutical company Merck Inc., shipping and logistics company A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, and law firm DLA Piper LLC. The ransomware infected computer networks and demanded $300 in Bitcoin to unlock their systems. This isn’t the first instance of a global ransomware attack.

In May, ransomware called WannaCry bulldozed through vulnerable networks around the world, affecting more than 300,000 computers in more than 150 countries. The ransomware didn’t discriminate among targets, hitting hospitals, public transit systems, and commercial stores. 

Bloomberg BNA is an affiliate of Bloomberg LP, the global business, financial information and news leader.

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