Could Unilever turn the tables on Kraft Heinz?
Since Unilever (ULVR) rejected an unwanted bid from Kraft Heinz over two years ago, the two packaged consumer goods powerhouses have been on very different share price trajectories.
The erstwhile prey looks in a position to turn the tables on its one-time predator, according to an article by Reuters Breakingviews.
Kraft Heinz’s shares have been in a downwards spiral after taking a $15.4bn writedown for its Kraft and Oscar Mayer brands and other assets, and revealing the SEC is probing its accounts.
Anglo Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever, famed for brands including Dove and Marmite, is now worth more than its former suitor.
As Breakingviews explains: ‘Unilever can afford to swallow the much-diminished Kraft. In a straight takeover, rather than a merger like the one Kraft sort-of proposed two years ago, Unilever would also
be in a prime position to call the shots, and export its culture and management approach – one where growth is not sacrificed at the altar of cost savings.’
The article suggests ‘snagging Kraft, while it’s cheap, might make a nice prelude to splitting the whole food complex off down the road’, although it stresses the tired brand portfolio is a potential barrier to a bid.