Marmite maker Unilever calls for takeover rule changes

(c) Sky News 2017: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/marmite-maker-unilever-calls-for-takeover-rule-changes-10802152">Marmite maker Unilever calls for takeover rule changes</a>
 

Marmite maker Unilever (NYSE: UL - news) has called for rules governing takeovers to be made fairer on companies facing overseas corporate raids - after it resisted a £115bn offer from Kraft Heinz (Swiss: KHC.SW - news) .

Chief (Taiwan OTC: 3345.TWO - news) executive Paul Polman called for a level playing field for "national champion" companies targeted by overseas corporate raids.

Anglo-Dutch Unilever - which makes well-known brands such as Persil, Dove, Pot Noodle, PG Tips and Marmite - thinks firms facing offers should have more time to defend themselves.

Mr Polman said: "We're not talking about protection; we are saying that when you have a situation like this, with a national champion, there should be a level playing field."

His remarks were first reported by the Financial Times.

:: Kraft withdrawal cleans up potential mess for Theresa May

Unilever wants takeover rules to be changed to consider the wider interests involved in a company, beyond shareholders, the FT reported, and pointed to such rules already existing in the Netherlands.

It also said the 28-day deadline for firms eyeing a takeover - known as "put up or shut up" - gave little time for a target company to prepare its defences when its suitor might have spent a year or more preparing a bid.

Kraft Heinz's abortive attempt to swallow up Unilever could have produced a headache for Theresa May after she pledged to introduce a "national interest" test for takeovers.

But the offer was abandoned just days after being made public last month.

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