Unilever Selling Spreads Business for $8 Billion to KKR

Unilever Selling Spreads Business for $8 Billion to KKR

The deal would be a result of Unilever's review of its operations in search of non-core assets, which it initiated earlier this year after rebuffing a $143 billion takeover approach in February from Kraft Heinz. Unilever said the sale would allow it to concentrate on products that are faster growing.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, or KKR, has won the auction to acquire Unilever's (UN) spread business, the Financial Times reports, citing two sources.

Today's announcement is another step further in the sharpening and reshaping of the company portfolio for growth over the long term, said CEO Paul Polman.

The brands to be sold include Becel, Flora, Country Crock and Blue Band.

"The consideration recognizes the market leading brands and the improved momentum", he added.

-The private-equity company is seeking to finalize the deal, which is expected to be valued at about $7 billion, and includes Flora margarine and other global brands, the FT says.

The maker of Knorr soup and Dove soap announced the deal on Friday, hours after Reuters reported that KKR had entered exclusive talks to buy the shrinking business after outbidding rivals.

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It added the margarine business was a "declining segment" that could be "better managed by others".

KKR, based in NY, had assets of $153 billion under its management as of September 30.

KKR firm had recently bought a majority of shares at vitamin maker Nature's Bounty and had also invested in India's Coffee Day Resorts and Chinese white goods maker Qingdao Haier.

Unilever said it would return net cash from the sale to shareholders, if it fails to pinpoint a "value-creating acquisition".

The offer is subject to certain regulatory approvals and employee consultation in certain jurisdictions.

This year Unilever has snapped up small brands including Tazo tea, Sundial Brands and Carver Korea.

Last month the foods business said it favored ending its Anglo-Dutch dual structure to become just one entity, but a final decision on that has been delayed while it decides if it would be based in the Netherlands or Britain.

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