Shares in the £112 billion maker of Marmite are surging after it rejected a takeover bid

LONDON — Shares in Unilever, the brand behind the likes of Marmite and Hellmann’s mayonnaise, are charging after confirmation that fellow consumer goods firm Kraft Heinz made an approach to merge the two companies.

On Friday afternoon, Kraft confirmed that it had an approach to takeover Unilever rejected, following a story from the Financial Times Alphaville blog earlier in the day.

“Kraft confirms that it has made a comprehensive proposal to Unilever about combining the two groups to create a leading consumer goods company with a mission of long-term growth and sustainable living. While Unilever has declined the proposal, we look forward to working to reach agreement on the terms of a transaction,” a statement from the firm said.

The statement continues: “There can be no certainty that any further formal proposal will be made to the Board of Unilever or that an offer will be made at all or as to the terms of any transaction.”

Unilever has a market capitalisation of around £112 billion, while Kraft Heinz is worth around £85 billion at the most recent estimate. Consequently, any merger between the two firms would be one of the biggest in history.

Shares in Unilever have taken off as a result, climbing more than 11% on the day after the news was announced. Here is the chart:

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