Unilever Plc (UL) - Get Unilever PLC Sponsored ADR Report has rejected a takeover offer from Kraft Heinz Co. (KHC) - Get Kraft Heinz Company (KHC) Report , saying the $143 billion approach has "no merit" and "fundamentally undervalues" the consumer staples company.
The Kraft proposal "represents a premium of 18% to Unilever's share price as at the close of business on 16 February 2017," Unilever said in a statement. "This fundamentally undervalues Unilever. Unilever rejected the proposal as it sees no merit, either financial or strategic, for Unilever's shareholders. Unilever does not see the basis for any further discussions."
Kraft said Friday that it had approached Unilever with a $50 per share offer, broken into cash and stock, but Unilever noted the bid values the group at $49.61 each, a premium of 18% to the company's £33.48 closing price Thursday in London.
Unilever shares surged more than 13% in London Friday to 3,774.5 pence each, giving the company a market value of £114 billion ($141.6 billion).
Steve Clayton, a fund manager at Hargreaves Lansdown, thinks Kraft's initial bid is short of the mark.
"The long term boost to portfolios that Unilever has delivered has been enormous," he wrote in a note to investors. "A short term premium today is no compensation for losing the growth that Unilever could produce for decades to come."
"So to win over a majority of Unilever's shareholders, we think Kraft Heinz will need to dig very deep indeed," he added.
That sentiment seemed to lift European consumer around the region, with Nestle SA (NSRGY) - Get NSRGY Report, the world's biggest food company, rising 1.05% higher to Sfr73.25 each by by 13:30 GMT, outpacing a 0.17% decline for the benchmark SMI in Zurich.
France's Danone SA (DANOY) gained more than 3% in Paris to change hands at a one-month high of €60.96 each while Britain's Reckitt Benckiser plc (RBGLY) , which only recently confirmed its $16.6 billion bid for Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN) , was trading 2.62% higher at 7,081 pence each.
The region-wide Stoxx 600 Optimised Consumer Staples index was quoted 2.29% higher at 2635.36 points, extending its gain from December to more than 10.4%.