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Unilever launches €450M offer for preference shares

Unilever Plc on Oct. 11 launched a 450 million recommended, unconditional and irrevocable partial cash offer for all 6% and 7% cumulative preference shares of Unilever NV, as expected.

The dual-listed Anglo-Dutch consumer products company, which makes Dove soaps and Lipton teas, said the move represented an important step toward simplifying its capital structure and improving its corporate governance by strengthening the link between economic interest and voting rights for shareholders.

Unilever flagged the initiative in an announcement on Aug. 9 and said it planned to carry out the transaction within 12 weeks. The acceptance period opens Oct. 12 and ends Oct. 25.

Upon completion of the offer, Unilever will initiate statutory buyout proceedings in order to acquire any remaining preference shares and terminate the listing of the preference shares on Euronext Amsterdam.

Unilever is offering €307.80 for each 6% cumulative preference share, €3,262 for depositary receipts for 7% cumulative preference subshares, and €326.20 for 7% cumulative preference subshares for which no depositary receipts are issued. The offer represents a premium of 264% to the closing price per 6% cumulative preference subshare, and a premium of 288% to the closing price per 7% cumulative preference subshare on Aug. 8, the day before the initial announcement.

In the Aug. 9 announcement, Unilever said about 97% of all the outstanding 6% and 7% cumulative preference shares were held by Dutch insurers NN Group NV and ASR Nederland NV, which had agreed to the deal.