FTSE Flat as Unilever Slips by 7%

FTSE Flat as Unilever Slips by 7%

Kraft Heinz's US$143 billion (S$203 billion) bid for Unilever collapsed just two days after it became public knowledge, with the Anglo- Dutch target's adamant rejection said to have played into billionaire Warren Buffett's long-time aversion to hostile deals.

U.K-based Unilever quickly rejected the offer, calling it "profoundly undervalues the company", but analysts said Kraft's move could flush out other bidders.

Unilever rejected the offer on Friday, but despite that, Kraft Heinz said at the time that it was still interested in the deal. This was expected to take the valuation of Unilever more than $140 billion.

Kraft spokesperson Michael Mullen said that while the company had meant to "proceed on a friendly basis" for the acquisition, "it was made clear Unilever did not wish to pursue a transaction".

The management at Kraft Heinz believes that if this merger would have happened it would have helped in creating a leading consumer goods company.

In the meantime, food and drinks companies like Coca-Cola Co., General Mills Inc. and Kellogg Co. are also under pressure from Wall Street to slash costs and find products that suit the shifting customer preferences.

According to an anonymous source familiar with the deal, Kraft withdrew the offer as negotiating a deal after public disclosure was hard.

During her leadership campaign a year ago, May criticised Kraft's 2010 takeover of British chocolate maker Cadbury, following which it reneged on an earlier promise to keep a factory in southwest England open.

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"Unilever and Kraft Heinz are in high esteem respectively".

Unilever's board had insisted on Friday the proposed buyout proposal had "no merit" and "fundamentally undervalued" the business.

Unilever follows Nestle, PepsiCo and Mondelez as the world's biggest packaged food maker by retail sales, coming in ahead of Kraft Heinz, according to Euromonitor International.

Kraft's offer was at an 18% premium to Unilever's closing share price on Thursday, Unilever said.

While shares in Unilever are down on the day, they remain above their pre-bid levels.

When UK companies were bought or faced closure, May warned at the Tory Party conference a year ago: "Workers have a stake, local communities have a stake, and often the whole country has a stake". A Kraft's spokesperson told reporters that the announcement was made at an "extremely early stage".

Four years ago Kraft spun off its global and snack businesses into a separate company, Mondelez worldwide, leaving the smaller Kraft company to focus on United States grocery brands.