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Food firms end talks

Kraft Heinz withdraws $143bn offer for Unilever

HeinzKraft Heinz has tonight withdrawn its proposed $143bn offer for Unilever following talks between the companies’ senior executives.

In a joint statement they said: “Unilever and Kraft Heinz hold each other in high regard. Kraft Heinz has the utmost respect for culture, strategy and leadership of Unilever.”

Unilever rejected Kraft’s proposal which was tabled on Friday and, if approved, would have been one of the biggest in corporate history, combining some of the best known household products, including Heinz soups and sauces, Marmite and PG Tips.

Shares in Anglo-Dutch giant Unilever rose more than 11% in London, but the company said it saw “no merit, either financial or strategic” in the tie-up.

Kraft, which is controlled by US billionaire Warren Buffett and private equity firm 3G Capital, is understood to have offered to keep three headquarters for the combined company in the United States, Britain and the Netherlands.

Competition regulators would have been certain to call in the proposed tie-up to assess its impact on the market and in particular the ability of such a global giant to control prices and dictate terms to suppliers.

The ending of the proposed deal will come as a relief to the UK government which has been increasingly vocal on big takeovers of British assets.

 

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