Anglo-Dutch fmcg giant Unilever has made an unsolicited cash offer for New Jersey-based consumer products company Bestfoods, whose brand range includes Knorr Soups, Hellman’s mayonnaise and Skippy peanut butter. On the table is said to be some $66 (Euro 72) per share, valuing the company at around $18.4bn.

The offer appears to be unwelcome, although no formal response has yet been forthcoming. Just eight months ago, Bestfoods withdrew from merger discussions with H J Heinz which, if successful, would have created the second largest food company in the US after Kraft Foods. Instead, it is said to prefer a merger of equals, for example with Campbell Soups.

If rebuffed, Unilever is thought unlikely to launch a hostile bid.

Wall Street Journal