Unilever to divest Spreads business to KKR in €6.825bn deal


Food acquisition news : Unilever, a British-Dutch multinational consumer goods firm has struck a deal to divest its global spreads business to investment firm KKR for €6.825 billion in a move to focus on faster growing products.

Unilever’s Spreads business, which comprises assets of €1.1 billion, features Becel, Flora, Country Crock, Blue Band, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, ProActiv and Rama among other brands.

The spreads business of Unilever has operations in 66 countries and in 2016 recorded a turnover of €3.03 billion.

Commenting on the sale of the Unilever Spreads business to KKR, Paul Polman, the CEO of Unilever said: “In April of this year we set out our 2020 programme to accelerate sustainable value creation. After a long history in Unilever we decided that the future of the Spreads business would lie outside the Group.

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“The announcement today marks a further step in reshaping and sharpening our portfolio for long term growth. The consideration recognises the market leading brands and the improved momentum we have achieved.

“I am confident that under KKR’s ownership, the Spreads business with its iconic brands will be able to fulfil its full potential as well as societal responsibilities.”

Unilever head office building in Rotterdam, Netherlands

Unilever head office building in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Photo courtesy of Marcel Douwe Dekker/Wikipedia.org.

KKR will be funding the acquisition amount through its European and N. American private equity funds.

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The transaction, which will be subject to relevant regulatory approvals as well as employee consultation in certain regions, is expected to be completed in mid-2018.

Commenting on KKR acquisition of Unilever Spreads business, Johannes Huth, the Head of KKR EMEA said: “The strength of the portfolio of consumer brands in Spreads provides a firm foundation for future growth.

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“We look forward to deploying our global network and operational expertise to support the business’s growth ambitions, while continuing to follow Unilever’s responsible sourcing policies, including working towards the goal of sourcing 100 per cent sustainable palm oil by 2019.”

In late September, Unilever made a deal to divest its spreads business in South Africa which includes brands like Rama, Stork, Flora and Rondo to investment firm Remgro in a $900 million deal.

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