Kraft Heinz of­fers to buy Unilever in $143B deal

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - CHAD BRAY

Al­most two years after it was cre­ated in a megamerger, the Kraft Heinz Co. is go­ing shop­ping again. And it is aim­ing high.

On Fri­day, the com­pany said that it had of­fered to buy Unilever in a $143-bil­lion deal that would po­ten­tially com­bine some of the world’s best known con­sumer brands. If it were to hap­pen, Unilever con­sumer sta­ples like Dove soap, Hell­mann’s may­on­naise and Lip­ton tea would join forces with Kraft Heinz’s Os­car Mayer meats Heinz Ketchup and Kraft Mac­a­roni & Cheese.

Kraft said that its of­fer had been de­clined, but that it looked for­ward to “work­ing to reach agree­ment on the terms of a trans­ac­tion.”

Unilever, how­ever, said that the pro­posal “fun­da­men­tally un­der­val­ues” the com­pany, and that it saw “no merit, ei­ther fi­nan­cial or strate­gic” for the deal. It said it saw no ba­sis for fur­ther dis­cus­sions.

The of­fer came as con­sumer­goods com­pa­nies are be­ing squeezed by fluc­tu­at­ing cur­rency rates, such as the strong U.S. dol­lar in Kraft Heinz’s case, and higher prices for sta­ples used in their prod­ucts.

Unilever is the fourth largest seller of pack­aged food world­wide — be­hind Nestlé, Pep­siCo and Mon­delez — and Kraft Heinz is the fifth, ac­cord­ing to data from Euromon­i­tor In­ter­na­tional.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

Kraft Heinz’s takeover of Unilever would cre­ate a con­sumer goods gi­ant.

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