Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever said “In April of this year we set out our 2020 programme to accelerate sustainable value creation. After a long history in Unilever we decided that the future of the Spreads business would lie outside the Group. The announcement today marks a further step in reshaping and sharpening our portfolio for long term growth. The consideration recognises the market leading brands and the improved momentum we have achieved. I am confident that under KKR’s ownership, the Spreads business with its iconic brands will be able to fulfil its full potential as well as societal responsibilities.”
Nicolas Liabeuf, CEO of Spreads, who will continue to lead the business, added “There is a positive momentum in the performance of the Spreads business and we are excited about continuing this journey with KKR. We are confident that our business and the entrepreneurial spirit of our people will thrive further under new ownership.”
Johannes Huth, Head of KKR EMEA said: “The strength of the portfolio of consumer brands in Spreads provides a firm foundation for future growth. We look forward to deploying our global network and operational expertise to support the business’s growth ambitions, while continuing to follow Unilever’s responsible sourcing policies, including working towards the goal of sourcing 100 per cent sustainable palm oil by 2019.”
The investment is being funded by both the European and N. American private equity funds of KKR.
The offer is subject to certain regulatory approvals and employee consultation in certain jurisdictions. Completion is expected mid-2018. Unilever intends to return the net cash realised to shareholders, unless more value-creating acquisition alternatives arise. The transaction constitutes a class 2 transaction for the purposes of the UK Listing Rules. Further information about Unilever’s Spreads business is provided below.
About Unilever Spreads
Unilever’s Spreads business includes brands such as Becel, Flora, Country Crock, Blue Band, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, Rama and ProActiv. It operates across 66 countries around the world. In 2016 the business had a turnover of €3,032 million, EBITDA (before any carveout adjustments under new ownership) of €680 million, and assets of €1,108 million.
This announcement, including the information contained in this release, excludes the South Africa Spreads business. As previously announced, Unilever will acquire Remgro’s 25.75% shareholding in Unilever South Africa Holdings (Pty) Ltd (Unilever SA) in exchange for the Unilever Spreads business in Southern Africa as well as a cash consideration.
KKR is a leading global investment firm that manages multiple alternative asset classes, including private equity, energy, infrastructure, real estate, credit and, through its strategic manager partnerships, hedge funds. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and driving growth and value creation with KKR portfolio companies.
KKR invests its own capital alongside its partners' capital and provides financing solutions and investment opportunities through its capital markets business. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds. For additional information about KKR & Co. L.P. (NYSE: KKR), please visit KKR's website at and on Twitter @KKR_Co.