Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said Monday a misunderstanding may have led to Unilever’s rejection of Kraft Heinz’s merger bid.
In a wide-ranging interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Buffett said the bid for Unilever was not intended as a “hostile offer,” but “it may have been interpreted that way.”
“I can’t argue about that, but if people say ‘we don’t like the price,’ that’s usually a ‘maybe,” the Berkshire Hathaway chief said.
Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital Partners, a private equity firm, are the largest stakeholders in Kraft Heinz.
The latter’s CEO, Alexandre Behring, first approached Unilever with a merger bid and hadn’t been “thrown out,” Buffett said. Kraft Heinz followed through with a formal offer.
Kraft Heinz announced Feb. 17 it had presented Unilever with a $143 billion merger proposal, which Unilever promptly rejected.
“After that Friday, I got a call indicating that the offer was unwelcomed,” Buffett said. “It became very apparent that Unilever did not want this offer.”
By Fred Imbert
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