Dec 9, 2017

Apollo partners with ADM in new bid for Unilever spreads unit

Apollo Global Management has partnered with Archer Daniels Midland, the US agricultural trader, and a veteran British turnround executive, as it prepares to submit a fresh bid in the $7bn auction for Unilever's spreads business. Apollo has also tapped David Haines, former chief executive of Germany's Grohe, to become executive chairman involved in running the unit, which includes Flora margarine and the spread until recently known as I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!, should it win the bid battle against rivals KKR and CVC Capital Partners. Even though its spreads unit is highly profitable, Unilever has been running a process to exit the business as revenues have been in decline in the face of changing consumer tastes for more natural products, such as butter. ADM, based in Chicago, said: "We are not pursuing a bid for Unilever's spreads business." It declined to comment on the nature of its involvement with Apollo. CVC is hoping that one of its Dutch partners will help it win over Unilever's management and the company's unions as it may not be able to match the level of an Apollo bid, one person close to the situation said.

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