Unilever has announced it will dispose of its margarine and spreads business to KKR, a US private equity firm, for an amount of €6.83bn ($8.04bn). This comes after KKR outbid other rivals, managing to acquire brands like Blue Band, Country Crock and Flora. Unilever’s decision to sell came in April, following a review of its assets after Kraft Heinz made a $143bn unsolicited offer for the group. As it stands, Unilever plans to return the cash to shareholders, unless a more value-creating opportunity arises. The deal is currently set to close in mid-2018, but will be subject to regulatory approvals and employee consultations.
On Thursday, Unilever released the results of a business review in which it considered ways to increase value for shareholders. This comes after the unsuccessful $143bn offer from Kraft Heinz which jolted the group into reviewing its business operations. Unilever has decided it would speed up cost savings, sell its shrinking margarine business and consider whether to scrap its dual Anglo-Dutch listing. The scrapping of its secondary listing would enable the group to more easily do large acquisitions. Unilever also announced shareholders would get a €5bn share buyback, the first since 2008, as well as a 12% increase in its dividend.