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Unilever eyes PE deal for ice cream business

Unilever is hoping to attract private equity interest in its ice cream division, having announced plans to sell the business, which includes Wall’s, Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s, and is working with advisers to sound out potential purchasers, according to a report by the Financial Times.

The report cites unnamed sources familiar with the matter as confirming that bankers at Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan have contacted buyout investors over a potential deal, although discussion remain at a preliminary stage.

According to the FT’s sources, the business could be valued between €10bn and €15bn in any deal, although Barclays has reportedly estimated the ice cream unit could be worth as much as €17bn.

The plan to hive off the ice cream division is part of a turnaround plan announced earlier this week by Chief Executive Hein Schumacher which also includes axing some 7,500 jobs.

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