Unilever’s share price popped by 13.43 per cent as it briefly reached an all-time record high on the news, although it pared some of those gains in afternoon trading to close at 449.5p.
However, Unilever’s board was quick to reject the $50 per share offer, which represented an 18 per cent premium. Investors will be watching eagerly to see if the US company increases its offer.
Bottling company Coca-Cola HBC was the other main mover on London’s main index, rising by a further 4.03 per cent, after strong results on Thursday saw its share price fizz by 4.88 per cent.
London’s main index may have been boosted by weakness in sterling, which briefly dipped below $1.24 against the US dollar after earlier breaching the $1.25 mark on news of lower than expected retail sales.
A weaker pound boosts many FTSE-listed multinational companies as extensive foreign earnings become more valuable. It may also have been a decisive factor in the Kraft bid, with the US company, backed by veteran investor Warren Buffett, seeing a much cheaper Unilever.
Meanwhile the dollar also advanced against the euro, continuing the move away from European assets ahead of crucial talks over the terms of Greece’s bailout.
Investors have moved money out of European assets ahead of a calendar full of political flashpoints, with Greece talks sitting alongside elections in France, the Netherlands, and Germany as potential threats this year.