Unilever has acquired snacks company, Graze, from Carlyle’s European technology fund ahead of competing bidders – Kellogg and Pepsico, the owner of Walker’s Crisps.
The deal is the first acquisition of Alan Jope, the new Chief Executive Officer of Unilever who took over the CEO position last month. Jope reportedly agreed to a cut-price takeover of Graze to secure the deal.
This acquisition will give the Unilever’s food and refreshment business a boost. Recall that in 2017 Unilever subsidiary in Nigeria, in a notice sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, announced its intention to divest its spread business, noting that it plans to consolidate its food and refreshment business. Shareholders of Unilever Plc approved the plan in 2018.
On Tuesday, the consumer goods company confirmed the purchase of the snack company whose products is available in thousands of supermarkets, just a week after Skynews reported Unilever is the frontrunner in the bidding process.
Details of the deal
According to reports, Graze was purchased from Carlyle’s European technology fund for £150 million. A source close to Unilever said it had paid exactly half the £300 million price at the time Graze was put up for sale, although the financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
Unilever’s decision to purchase the snack company is a strategic move. Unilever intends to focus on brands with expansion potential, both geographically and through new distribution channels.
With the potential of Graze, the acquisition is in line; as the snack company has continued to expand into various retail outlets namely Boots, Costco and Sainsbury’s, as well as online since its establishment in 2008.
The company was seen by food industry rivals as an innovator by offering greater personalisation based on order history, although it is seen as having lost its way, and failed to achieve the anticipated market share in the United States.
“Accelerating our presence in healthy foods and out of home this is an excellent strategic fit for the Unilever Food & Refreshment business, and a wonderful addition to our stable of purpose driven brands.
We look forward to working with the graze team to grow the business, leveraging their tech and ecommerce expertise for our wider portfolio, and offering more consumers the opportunity to snack in a healthier way.” – Nitin Paranjpe, President of Unilever’s Food & Refreshment business
While Anthony Fletcher, Graze CEO, described the deal as a transformational moment in Graze’s growth journey.
Unilever is a British-Dutch transnational consumer goods company co-headquartered in London, United Kingdom, and Rotterdam, Netherlands. Its products include food and beverages (about 40 per cent of its revenue), cleaning agents and beauty & personal care products. Unilever is one of the oldest multinational companies; its products are available in around 190 countries. Some of the company’s popular household-name brands include Lipton, Knorr, Dove, Axe, Lux, Rexona and Omo.
Its Nigerian arm is currently trading at N36.90 on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.