Pro Analysis

Breakingviews: Unilever may be tempted by artificial sweeteners

An employee prepares a scoop of ice cream at the Miko Carte d'Or, part of the Unilever group, factory Saint-Dizier, France, May 4, 2016.
Philippe Wojazer | Reuters
An employee prepares a scoop of ice cream at the Miko Carte d'Or, part of the Unilever group, factory Saint-Dizier, France, May 4, 2016.

Kraft Heinz's botched bid may yet enrich Unilever investors. After fending off the U.S. group's unwelcome $143 billion proposal, the Marmite maker said it will focus on boosting shareholder return. Boss Paul Polman has options including cost cuts and selling the group's troubled spreads business. The temptation to bulk up with a dramatic acquisition could become a constant theme.

Unilever announced on Wednesday that the board will look for ways to unlock value for investors and plans to complete a review of the company by early April. The news sent the stock up 3 percent – more good news for Unilever investors whose shares now exchange hands for 44 euros a piece, 11 percent more than their Feb. 16 pre-leak price.