Unilever acquires Bestfoods – Brief Article – Statistical Data Included
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. — Fresh from its acquisition of Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream for $326 million and Slim-Fast Food Cos. for $2.3 billion, Anglo-Dutch Unilever announced a merger with Bestfoods. Under the terms of the agreement, Unilever will acquire all the outstanding shares of Bestfoods for $73 per share in cash. Based on the number of shares of Bestfoods on a fully diluted basis, the transaction has a total equity value of approximately $20.3 billion. Unilever will also assume approximately $4.0 billion of Bestfoods’ debt.
The deal will be the latest in a series of acquisitions for Unilever, which has pursued Bestfoods in order to capture more top-name brands and boost revenue growth. It comes at a time when Unilever is streamlining its massive food, detergents and personal products business. The five-year plan calls for increased operating margins, job cuts and revenue enhancements.
Niall FitzGerald, Unilever chairman, said, “We are very excited about the combination of Unilever and Best-foods. This transaction creates the pre-eminent global food and consumer goods company. Together we will have a portfolio of powerful worldwide and regional brands, with strong growth prospects.”
Unilever said the Bestfoods management team would play an “important role” in the combined company but gave no specifics.
“In addition to creating a premier portfolio of foods brands, the combination will bring together two of the world’s top management teams, creating one which is capable of realizing the growth and synergy opportunity and leading the category agenda,” FitzGerald said.
Already ranked No. 3 among world food companies, Unilever will now jump ahead of Philip Morris Kraft Foods and challenge Nestle AG for the top spot. Unilever’s stable of brands includes Lipton teas, CloseUp toothpaste and Calvin Klein fragrances.
The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2000. It was also reported in June that Bestfoods was assessing a potential acquisition of Campbell Soup Co.
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