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Kraft Heinz remains hopeful despite Unilever rejection
Posted on Friday, 17 February 2017 14:26
Unilever was the top riser on the FTSE 100 by 13:10 today as investors pushed up stock by 12.3 per cent following news the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant has turned down a mega-merger proposal by Kraft Heinz.

The US food and beverage conglomerate confirmed recent media speculation, which was prompted by an article published by FT Alphaville earlier in the day, and noted an approach had been rejected.

Undeterred, Kraft Heinz proceeded to state: “While Unilever has declined the proposal, we look forward to working to reach agreement on the terms of a transaction.”

However, the Warren Buffett-backed suitor will have to up its game if it wants to successfully woo the London-headquartered giant behind brands ranging from Dove and Domestos to Lux and Surf.

In a separate, subsequent statement, Unilever said the undervalued approach had a total equity value of USD 143.00 billion and represented only a premium of 18.0 per cent to yesterday’s close of 3,347 pence (USD 41.77).

Kraft Heinz is now in a position where it must either announce a firm intention to make a bid by no later than 17th March, or withdraw its approach.

However, if the company manages to pull off its attempt to create a consumer goods juggernaut, it would be one of the largest takeovers on record, according to Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk.

In fact, it would be the biggest in the last decade – overtaking Anheuser-Busch InBev’s October acquisition of UK brewer SABMiller for USD 124.44 billion, and making Reckitt Benckiser’s USD 17.90 billion bid for Mead Johnson last week pale into insignificance.

Unilever is pushing through tough market conditions which led to turnover for fiscal 2016 slipping to EUR 52.71 billion from EUR 53.27 billion in FY 2015 and total comprehensive net profit of EUR 4.77 billion (FY 2015: EUR 5.76 billion).

© Zephus Ltd