Unilever to sell its spreads division to American investment group KKR

Unilever is selling its margarine and spreads division to US venture capital group KKR for €6.8bn. The unit operates across 66 countries around the world and booked turnover of over €3bn in 2016.

This was the highest offer made for the unit, which makes Blue Band and Becel plus Dutch brands as Zeeuwse Meisje, first produced in 1894.

‘I am confident that under KKR’s ownership, the spreads business with its iconic brands will be able to fulfill its full potential as well as societal responsibilities,’ chief executive Paul Polman said in a statement.

The company sad it was planning to sell its margarine activities in April, two months after an abortive takeover attempt by Kraft Heinz of the US in February.

Unilever was formed in 1930 through the merger of British soap maker Lever Brothers and Nederlandse Margarine Unie. The group has a single management and supervisory board but separate Dutch and British bases and is currently considering whether or not to retain both its Dutch and British headquarters.

According to the Financieele Dagblad, no agreement was reached about maintaining margarine production in Rotterdam.


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