Unilever 'considering selling' brands including Flora margarine and Stork butter to enhance investor returns

Last month Kraft Heinz dropped a £115bn offer to buy Unilever after the latter said that the bid was too low and carried no ‘financial or strategic’ merit

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Unilever could be preparing to sell some of its best-known brands, including Flora margarine and Stork butter, in a bid to enhance investor returns, according to media reports.

Several newspapers, including The Sunday Times and The Sunday Telegraph, have reported that the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant is next month due to publish a strategic review in which it could announce that it is off-loading some underperforming businesses in a £6bn auction.

The reports said that its margarine line is understood to be one of the businesses on the block as a result of changing consumer behaviour, leading to a slowdown in the market for spreads.

Unilever was not immediately available for comment on Monday morning.

Last month Kraft Heinz dropped a £115bn ($143bn) offer to buy Unilever after the latter said that the bid was too low and carried no “financial or strategic” merit.

A takeover would have been one of the biggest ever in corporate history, and the biggest ever acquisition of a UK-based company by a non-UK one, Thomson Reuters data showed at the time.

Kraft, which is the world’s fifth-largest food and beverage company, has already in recent years already been forced to adjust its product range to adjust to consumers’ changing preferences and a trend towards fresher, non-packaged items.

In the wake of the failed takeover, some analysts said that Unilever may shift its focus to do the same, giving it the opportunity to enhance shareholder returns.

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