Unilever snags Slim-Fast, Ben & Jerry's

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Unilever, New York, today agreed to acquire Slim-Fast Foods Co. for $2.3 billion and Ben & Jerry's Homemade in a transaction valued at $326 million. The Ben & Jerry's acquisition follows efforts by the Vermont company's founders and other socially conscious investors to take the company private, a plan that was abandoned when Unilever offered $43.60 per share earlier in the week. Although Unilever is the world's largest ice cream marketer, selling under its Good Humor-Breyers Ice Cream unit in the U.S., Ben & Jerry's will be operated separately. Unilever hopes to take the Ben & Jerry's brand global. The Slim-Fast acquisition fits with Unilever's global strategy to build its health-oriented food offerings. Slim-Fast sales totaled $611 million for the year ended in November 1999.

Copyright April 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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