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Kraft Heinz, the food conglomerate backed by Brazil’s 3G and Warren Buffett, confirmed it had made a £112bn takeover offer for the Anglo -Dutch conglomerate.
Shares in the Unilever jumped 14 per cent at publication time to a record high and putting them on track for their biggest one-day rise since 1987.
Kraft Heinz said in a statement that Unilever declined its initial offer, but added:
While Unilever has declined the proposal, we look forward to working to reach agreement on the terms of a transaction.
The statement came after FT Alphaville reported earlier on Friday that Kraft Heinz had made an approach to Unilever, according to people briefed on the matter. The report caused shares in Unilever to surge, prompting the statement from the company.
Unilever had a market capitalisation of £112bn, meaning that any takeover would be one of the largest in history. It is the world’s fourth-largest consumer goods company by sales, with revenues last year of €52.7bn.
A deal would unite some of the biggest brands in the global consumer good industry, adding the likes of Dove and Knorr to the Kraft Heinz roster, which spans Philadelphia cream cheese, ketchup and Weight Watchers.
Kraft shares were up 4 per cent in pre-market US trading.