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Report: UK's May 'bracing' for Unilever opting for HQ in Netherlands

British Prime Minister Theresa May is "bracing" for Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever Plc choosing the Netherlands over the U.K. for its unified headquarters, according to a report on the Financial Times' website Feb. 21.

The company, which has head offices in London and Rotterdam, is expected to make a decision at its board meeting in March, according to the article.

U.K. officials have held talks with Unilever, the newspaper reported, and they have not "lost all hope" of losing out to the Netherlands. However, it quoted one British official as saying: "It wouldn't be a great surprise if it happened."

Unilever has two parent companies, Unilever plc and Unilever NV, a dual legal structure, two headquarters and holds two annual shareholder meetings. A single structure would simplify the business and provide flexibility, allowing the company to more easily restructure its operation. The review was launched in April 2017 in the wake of an aborted $143 billion takeover attempt by The Kraft Heinz Co.

Unilever is not alone in reviewing its cross-border structure. On Feb. 15, Anglo-Dutch information and analytics provider RELX Group plc announced that it would end its dual-parent holding company structure through the merger of London-listed RELX Plc and Amsterdam-listed RELX NV. Its headquarters will remain in London.