Unilever Asset Sale Bet Draws $12 Billion Henderson Fund Manager

Henderson Group Plc’s John Bennett, who oversees more than $12 billion, is betting that a failed bid for Unilever may lead the owner of brands like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dove soap to consider selling some of its assets.

The London-based fund manager started buying shares in Unilever NV the day after Kraft Heinz Co. withdrew its $143 billion offer to acquire the company. Bennett allocated about 1 percent of the 267 million-pound ($333 million)Henderson European Focus Trust Plc to Unilever, he said.

“We see this as an opportunity for management to examine their portfolio,” Bennett said at a roundtable event at Henderson’s headquarters. He would like the shape of the company “to be examined” and the results to be presented to shareholders. Switzerland’s Nestle SA is also a “hot breakup candidate” or a company that could reshape its assets, he said.

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