Unilever rejects takeover bid from Kraft Heinz


Kraft Heinz is attempting to buy Unilever in a $143 billion deal that would create a global food leader that sells products including cheese, lunch meats, spreads and snacks.

U.S. food giant Kraft Heinz says its offer to buy Europe's Unilever was rejected, but it's still pursuing the deal.

Kraft Heinz, maker of Oscar Mayer meats, Jell-O pudding and Velveeta cheese, said there was no certainty that it would even make another offer.

Unilever's brands include Hellmann's, Lipton and Knorr.

Kraft Heinz is itself the result of a recent buyout. The Kraft and Heinz merger was engineered by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital, which has a history of taking over companies and aggressively cutting costs.

Executives pitched the deal as the path to enormous savings because the companies would be able to utilize the same manufacturing and distribution networks.

Bernardo Hees, the CEO of Kraft Heinz and a 3G partner, has made job cuts and is pursuing other savings, some of them granular. In a memo sent to employees in the summer of 2015, Hees reminded them to print on both sides of the paper, reuse office supplies like binders and to turn off computers before leaving the office to cut down on energy costs.

The company also stopped stocking the corporate office with free Kraft snacks.

Companies like Kraft Heinz and Unilever are trying to catch up to rapidly changing consumer tastes as more people steer clear of processed foods. They are changing up the foods they offer and cutting costs.

Shares of Kraft Heinz and Unilever rose sharply before the opening bell Friday.

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