Kraft Heinz offers to buy Unilever in $143B deal
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.
Kraft Heinz’s takeover of Unilever would create a consumer goods giant.