The potential sale of Lipton by Unilever is attracting a lot of interest: six groups of investors are already considering an offer, including the parent company of chocolate producer Barry Callebaut.
Switzerland or Abu Dhabi?
Unilever's first major move, now that the brand manufacturer has officially decided to become 100 % British, does not seem very British: the consumer goods giant is selling its tea category, which includes Lipton. Many interested buyers have already come forward, Bloomberg reports based on internal sources.
Among those who have come forward so far are the Swiss owner of Barry Callebaut (Jacob Holdings) and numerous private equity companies such as KKR, Bain Capital, Advent International, Blackstone Group. Private equity firm Cinven is even in talks with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority to make a joint bid.
Moving away from famous names
Unilever could gain more than five billion pounds (5.5 billion euros) from this divestiture, depending on the assets to be included in the transaction. According to Bloomberg, the company plans to launch the tender after the summer holidays. Some of the candidates for the takeover would therefore already be in discussion with advisers to support them throughout the procedure.
In January, CEO Alan Jope announced that he was considering selling part or all of the tea business. The CEO is trying to bring renewal to Unilever, as consumers are increasingly turning away from the big traditional brands. The potential sale could be one of the largest ever for the company, which has already sold its entire margarine category to KKR for eight billion dollars in 2017.