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World Business Report

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The latest business and finance news from around the world from the BBC

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Unilever Rejects Kraft Heinz Merger

February 17th, 2017

Episode 957 of 1091 episodes

The American food giant Kraft Heinz has made a surprise offer worth $143 billion to merge with the multi-national consumer goods group Unilever, but the Anglo-Dutch company refused to discuss a deal, saying it had made no financial or strategic sense. Shares in Unilever surged as it insisted the offer undervalued the company and it recommended shareholders to take no action, Meanwhile Kraft Heinz has hinted it is still interested in a marriage, issuing a statement that said it looked forward to "working to reach agreement on the terms of a transaction." Professor John Colley, from Warwick University Business School, gives us his analysis of the possible marriage of Kraft Heinz and Unilever. The head of the Samsung group, South Korea's biggest company, has been arrested, after prosecutors said they had new evidence against him, in an investigation into a corruption scandal linked to the South Korean President Park Geun-Hye. Lee Jae-yong is accused of bribing a close friend of the country's leader to gain government favours related to leadership succession at the conglomerate. The journalist Jason Strother is following the case in Seoul and we ask him of detaining the head of one of South Korea's Chaebol industrial conglomerates is unprecendented? As it is Friday the BBC's hardworking team of business news reporters get a chance to reflect on the range of developments we have analysed for you this week and the agenda has varied. The Japanese industrial Toshiba has become worthless thanks to severe losses at its American nuclear arm Westinghouse, Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg spoke to the BBC about his fears of fake news and people being excluded from the digital economy and US President Donald Trump met the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. We analyse these developments with Joe Wiesenthal, from Bloomberg in New York and Charles Forelle at the Wall Street Journal, in London. Should we think twice about travelling with our smartphones? The recent detention of a NASA engineer who was forced to handover his phone and its passcode to border officers for examination, when he returned to the US, has sparked a series of online comments among technology enthusiasts. BBC Technology Correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones gives us his take on the incident and its ramifications for the privacy of the personal data we store on our mobile devices. (Picture:Unilever headquarters. Getty Images.)

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