Unilever to acquire Bestfoods

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Bestfoods, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., agreed after nearly a month to accept a buyout offer from Unilever. The all-cash deal is worth $20.4 billion, or $73 a share, up from the initial offer of $18.4 billion, or $66 a share. The combined company will be the world's largest food operation, with combined 1999 revenue of roughly $52.3 billion, the companies said in a joint release. Unilever is on a brand-buying binge, now adding Bestfoods' roster of leading global brands to other recent additions Ben & Jerry's and Slim-Fast; the Unilever stable of food products also includes such brands as Lipton and Shedd's Spread. Bestfoods spent $47.3 million on media last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting. It's agency roster includes BBDO North America and Bates USA.

Copyright June 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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