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Unilever to sell spreads business to KKR for $8 billion

Staff Writer |
Unilever has agreed to sell its margarine and spreads business to KKR for 6.83 billion euros ($8.04 billion).

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The maker of Knorr soup and Dove soap announced the deal on Friday, hours after Reuters reported that KKR had entered exclusive talks to buy the shrinking business after outbidding rivals.

The brands to be sold include Becel, Flora, Country Crock and Blue Band. Unilever put the business up for sale in April, following a review of its assets prompted by February's unsolicited $143 billion takeover attempt by Kraft Heinz.

"The announcement today marks a further step in reshaping and sharpening our portfolio for long-term growth," said chief executive Paul Polman. "The consideration recognises the market leading brands and the improved momentum we have achieved."

The deal with Unilever is expected to close mid-2018, subject to regulatory approvals and employee consultations.

Unilever, whose sales unexpectedly slowed in October, said it plans to return the cash to shareholders, unless more value-creating acquisition options arise.

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