Unilever selling margarines for 6.8 bn euros to US giant KKR

The Hague (AFP) –


Anglo-Dutch food and consumer giant Unilever said Friday it had reached a 6.8-billion-euro ($8-billion) deal with US private equity giant KKR to sell its margarines business.

Unilever "has received a binding offer from KKR to purchase its global spreads business for 6.825 billion euros on a cash-free, debt-free basis," the company said in a statement.

After spurning a takeover by US rival Kraft Heinz earlier this year, Unilever announced in April it would spin-off its margarines, which include such brands as Flora, Blue Band and Rama, as part of a restructuring plan.

Unilever chief executive Pol Polman said Friday's announcement "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," he added.

The deal is expected to be completed by mid-2018, subject to regulatory approvals.

Unilever owns more than 400 household brands including Dove, Knorr soups, Lipton, Magnum and Marmite.

"There is a positive momentum in the performance of the spreads business and we are excited about continuing this journey with KKR," said Nicolas Liabeuf, the chief executive officer of spreads.

Since the spurned takeover bid, Rotterdam-based Unilever, which employs some 169,000 people around the world has sought to prove to shareholders that it is better off on its own and vowed to boost profitability.