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Kraft Heinz drops $143bn Unilever takeover bid

22 February 2017

In a joint statement, Kraft Heinz said that it held Unilever "in high regard" and that it had "the utmost respect for its culture, strategy and leadership".

Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index Direct, said: "We expect the chief reason to drop the bid was concern about the political atmosphere in Britain, which is now against foreigners making bids for "national treasures", even half-Dutch ones like Unilever".

Over the weekend Kraft Heinz (KHC) walked away from its friendly bid for Unilever (UL). Although this particular merger is off, investors sense that big food groups are in a dealmaking mood, and Unilever may soon entertain offers for some or all of its assets from another suitor.

The weaker pound since the Brexit vote made the takeover more attractive but the British government recently signalled it would look closely at foreign takeovers especially if job losses were expected.

In a statement Kraft Heinz spokesman Michael Mullen remarked: "Kraft Heinz's interest was made public at an extremely early stage".

United States food company Kraft Heinz has walked away from a $143bn merger deal with Unilever after details of the bid were made public last week.

However, the abrupt end to the dealmaking between Kraft Heinz and Unilever could bring the focus back on CPG companies.

Reports also said that UK Prime Minister Theresa May ordered to keep on eye on the agreement before it was finished.

3G has orchestrated a string of big deals rocking the food and drink industry, including Anheuser-Busch InBev's takeover of SABMiller and the combination of Kraft and Heinz.

On Friday, The Kraft Heinz Company unveiled a $143 billion unsolicited-and rejected-offer to acquire Unilever. However, Unilever made it crystal clear that it was not interested in a transaction coming through.

The cash element of Kraft Heinz's $50 a share offer for Unilever involved funds from 3G and Berkshire Hathaway, plus debt raised from capital markets. "It was always going to be a hard pitch to convince shareholders to relinquish their grip on Unilever, given the expectations for the company to keep churning our resilient growth in the years to come".

The owner of popular messaging app Snapchat aims to raise between US$19.5 billion and US$22.3 billion from listing on the New York Stock Exchange, after cutting its initial target of between US$20 and US$25 billion last week following investor feedback, according to Reuters. Its management fretted about the cost-cutting model at Kraft, which sells products like Velveeta and Jell-O, and its lack of vision for cultivating brands, said people familiar with the situation.