Unilever rejects £111 billion offer from Kraft Heinz


Kraft Heinz, the American food and beverage company, made a $143 billion offer to Unilever in an acquisition bid that was spurned by the British-Dutch FMCG company.

The Anglo-Dutch company issued a strongly-worded rebuttal after Kraft Heinz tabled an offer representing an 18% premium on Unilever's closing share price of 50 United States dollars per share (£40.26) on February 16. Further, Unilever said it does not see the basis for any further discussions and asked its shareholders to take no action. According to Reuters, Unilever shares surged by 11 percent after the approach was confirmed - from 33.60 pounds to over 37 pounds per share. Investors who are keeping close eye on the stock of The Kraft Heinz Company (NASDAQ:KHC) established that the company was able to keep return on investment at 3.21 in the trailing twelve month while Reuters data showed that industry's average stands at 12.40 and sector's optimum level is 59.82.

Although Unilever has rejected the approach, Kraft Heinz says it will persist and "looks forward to working to reach an agreement on the terms of a transaction".

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The transaction could also provide an opportunity to the eventual parent to delist the entity under a composite deal, it added.

Like many other consumer goods companies, Unilever has been suffering from a slowdown in growth as brand-fickle consumers in mature markets increasingly turn to start-ups for more exciting new products.

Kraft Heinz, which is backed by Brazilian private equity group 3G Capital, has been linked to a number of big-ticked takeover targets.

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Contrary to our belief it remained laser-focused on extracting costs (after bumping up its target to $1.7 billion from $1.5 billion on February 15), narrow-moat Kraft Heinz (KHC) confirmed on February 17 it approached wide-moat Unilever (UL)(UN) about a potential tie-up.

Strategic Advisors LLC boosted its position in Kraft Heinz Co. Earlier this week, Kraft Heinz revealed that its fourth-quarter sales fell 3.7% year-on-year, resulting in a 5% drop in its share price.

Kraft Heinz, itself the product of a 2015 merger, makes Kraft and Heinz foods. Mondelez International Inc., General Mills Inc. and the Kellogg Co. have been mentioned as potential targets. The stock's 50 day moving average price is $88.39 and its 200 day moving average price is $87.17. Vetr raised shares of Kraft Heinz from a "buy" rating to a "strong-buy" rating and set a $98.22 price objective on the stock in a research note on Monday, September 12th.

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