Food company Bestfoods (BFO) - Get Report has rejected an acquisition bid by Dutch consumer-products giant Unilever NV (UN) - Get Report.

Unilever made an unsolicited cash offer to acquire Bestfoods for $66 a share, or about $18.4 billion. That offer would represent a substantial premium over Bestfoods' Tuesday closing price of 50 9/16.

The offer which comes just eight months after Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based Bestfoods aborted merger discussions with

H.J. Heinz Co.

(HNZ)

to create the second-biggest U.S. food company behind Kraft Foods. Bestfoods called Unilever's offer inadequate in a statement released late Tuesday.

Bestfoods makes

Knorr

soups,

Hellman's

mayonnaise and

Skippy

peanut butter.