Feb 22, 2018

The reasons why Unilever may leave London

Why is Unilever reviewing the future of its HQ? The shock of Kraft Heinz's $143bn takeover bid last year brought home to Unilever the fact that the world of consumer goods has changed and that size can no longer protect companies, however long and venerable their history, from ruthless predators. At the moment, Unilever operates as two separate legal companies, one based in Rotterdam, the other in London. Unilever has not yet made a final decision but the Netherlands does have a prime minister who appears far more engaged and energetic about trying to keep Unilever than a UK government preoccupied by Brexit. If Unilever chooses the Netherlands over London, it will need to assure investors that the decision was not motivated by takeover protection and that it will stick to the promises it made after the Kraft-Heinz bid about improving financial performance. The two centres reflect the respective origins of the original companies that merged to form Unilever.

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