Monday 23 October 2017

Kraft abandons its Unilever merger bid

Paul Polman wanted to protect Unilever’s long-term values. Photo: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
Paul Polman wanted to protect Unilever’s long-term values. Photo: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Ashley Armstrong

Kraft Heinz has unexpectedly abandoned its audacious £115bn (€134bn) takeover bid for Marmite-maker Unilever.

The retreat came just hours after it emerged that UK Prime Minister Theresa May had ordered Downing Street officials to scrutinise a potential deal.

Last week, Unilever rejected the approach for fundamentally undervaluing the company, which also makes household goods ranging from Dove soap to Persil.

It is understood that the UK government had also had conversations with "high level" executives at 3G Capital, the Brazilian private equity outfit behind Kraft Heinz.

"Unilever and Kraft Heinz hereby announce that Kraft Heinz has amicably agreed to withdraw its proposal for a combination of the two companies," a statement released by the companies last night said.

"Unilever and Kraft Heinz hold each other in high regard. Kraft Heinz has the utmost respect for the culture, strategy and leadership of Unilever," the statement said.

It is understood that Paul Polman, chief executive of Unilever, had been urging shareholders to not support its US rival's efforts.

He argued that a takeover would destroy the long-term values of the Anglo-Dutch company. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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