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

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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