USA: Fitch Places Bestfoods' Debt Rating On Watch Evolving
Fitch has placed its ratings of Bestfoods' (BFO) senior debt of 'A+' and commercial paper of 'F1' on Rating Watch Evolving following the company's announcement that it has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Unilever NV. This rating action covers BFO's public debt of approximately $3.3 billion.The acquisition, which is expected to be consummated in the fourth quarter of this year, will cost Unilever approximately $20.0 billion in addition to the assumption of $3.3 billion of Bestfoods' debt. While the acquisition is highly complementary and will significantly strengthen Unilever's global food operations, resolution of the Rating Watch status will depend upon, among other things, the credit profile and financial and operational strategy of the combined entity. In addition, opportunities for cost reduction through administrative and operating efficiencies will be reviewed.Fitch is an international rating agency that provides global capital market investors with the highest quality ratings and research. Dual headquartered in New York and London with a major office in Chicago, Fitch rates entities in 75 countries and has some 1,100 employees in more than 40 local offices worldwide. The agency, which is a combination of Fitch IBCA and Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co., provides ratings for Financial Institutions, Corporations, Structured Finance, Insurance, Sovereigns and Public Finance Markets worldwide.
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