Unilever starts ‘comprehensive review’ after Kraft Heinz withdraws bid

By Simon Pitman contact

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever starts ‘comprehensive review’ after Kraft Heinz withdraws bid

Related tags: Unilever ceo paul, Corporation, Unilever

Unilever has announced that it is undergoing a comprehensive internal review following news that Kraft Heinz has withdrawn its $143bn bid for the company.

Following on from the announcement, Unilever released another communication indicating that its operating margins will improve during the course of 2017.

"The management of Unilever now expects core operating margin improvement for 2017 to be at the upper end of its 40-80 basis points guidance,"​ the second statement read.

Unilever looking like a good prospect

The news underlines how the underlying financials for the business are looking good, and could also flag it up as an even stronger investment.

In announcing that the company was rejecting the Kraft Heinz bid, Unilever CEO Paul Pollman had stated that the company’s offer had undervalued the business.

Pollman is also quoted as stating his belief that Unilever’s personal care business might not have been the best fit for Kraft Heinz as the management team has limited expertise in this area.

Unilever says that the review period is expected to be completed by early April, but investors’ sentiment indicates that pulling out of the deal and reflecting on the future options could prove to be the right one.

Could Unilever be split up?

However, there are big differences in the way different divisions within the Unilever business operate, with the European business proving to be more profitable than that of the Americas, while growth in the personal care and home care business has far outstripped that of the food and refreshments business.

Some investment analysts believe this could mean that Unilever might contemplate splitting the business to suit the expertise of specific businesses. This could also mean that another Kraft Heinz deal could be brokered focused on the food side of Unilever’s business.

But speculation is also growing over a number of other major multinational companies that could be potential suitors, with investors particularly eyeing Colgate-Palmolive, which is focused on personal care but is largely focused on oral care, where Unilever only has limited exposure.

At the beginning of the week, shares in Clorox rose by 3% by the close of play on Friday, after Unilever had rejected the bid, while shares in Colgate-Palmolive and Kleenex both rose by 4%.

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