Kraft Heinz has said it has dropped its plan to buy Anglo-Dutch rival Unilever. Marmite-maker Unilever rejected the US food giant's bid on Friday, saying it saw "no merit, either financial or strategic" in Kraft's offer, worth about $143bn (£115bn). "Unilever and Kraft Heinz hold each other in high regard," the companies said in a joint statement. The deal would have been one of the biggest in corporate history, combining dozens of household names. Unilever owns Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Dove soap, and Hellmann's mayonnaise, while Kraft's range includes Philadelphia cheese and Heinz baked beans.
LONDON – Shares in Kraft Heinz are expected to plunge when markets open Friday after the consumer goods company said it was being investigated by U.S. regulators and it reported a massive loss. Kraft Heinz said it received a subpoena in October from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission related to an investigation of its procurement operations, which cover deals a company makes with outside suppliers. It said it's cooperating with authorities. The probe was disclosed in the earnings report Thursday, in which it reported a massive $12.6 billion loss for the fourth quarter, compared with an $8 billion profit a year earlier. The loss was largely due to a $15.4 billion writedown on the value of its Kraft and Oscar Mayer trademarks.
Kraft Heinz has decided to withdraw its $143-billion offer to buy Unilever, the companies announced Sunday in a joint news release. Unilever -- which has a head office in London and makes mayonnaise, tea and seasonings -- earlier had spurned the offer, saying the price was too low. Despite rejection, Kraft Heinz said last week it was still interested in the deal. Analysts say Kraft Heinz -- which makes ketchup, cheese and lunch meat and is co-headquartered in Chicago and Pittsburgh -- is still in the market for acquisitions. The deal would have brought together Kraft Heinz brands such as Oscar Mayer, Jell-O and Velveeta and Unilever's Hellman's, Lipton and Knorr.