Kraft Heinz Co., the US food company behind Kraft Cheese and Heinz Ketchup, withdrew its proposal for a $143 billion merger with Unilever PLC. Earlier, Kraft had made a surprise offer to Unilever, the makers of Lipton Tea and Dove, but it was rejected by the company. Following this, Kraft withdrew the offer because of difficulties negotiating a deal following the public disclosure of its bid so soon after its approach to Unilever.
Michael Mullen, spokesperson for Kraft Heinz spoke about this and said in a statement, “Kraft Heinz’s interest was made public at an extremely early stage. Our intention was to proceed on a friendly basis, but it was made clear Unilever did not wish to pursue a transaction. It is best to step away early so both companies can focus on their own independent plans to generate value.”
The company was forced to publicly disclose its offer on Friday to comply with Britain’s takeover regulations, following rumours of its approach to Unilever circulated among stock traders. According to UK takeover rules, Kraft’s public withdrawal of its offer makes it difficult for the company to revive takeover talks with Unilever for the next six months.
This combination of brands would make it the third-biggest takeover in history and the largest by a UK-based company. If and when combined, the company would have $82 million in sales.