Business

Unilever surge lifts the FTSE 100

Traders in London Image copyright AP

(Close) A surge in Unilever shares pushed the FTSE 100 higher, after it emerged it had received and rejected a takeover bid from US food giant Kraft.

Unilever shares finished more than 13% higher, and that helped push the benchmark FTSE 100 past the post with a 22-point gain to 7,299.96.

The Anglo-Dutch firm said it saw "no merit" in the $143bn (£115bn) offer.

But Kraft said that the talks were continuing and that it looked forward to reaching an agreement.

Rival consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser was pulled higher by the news, with its shares rising nearly 3%.

Meanwhile, Standard Chartered extended its earlier losses to more than 4% amid a wider sell-off in banking shares.

Deutsche Bank was the biggest faller as Germany's Dax index dropped 0.5%. France's Cac fell 1.0%.

"The FTSE 100 has managed to buck this slightly weaker trend but that's been primarily as a result of today's news that Kraft Heinz, the world's fifth biggest consumer foods brand, is looking to acquire Unilever, the world's third biggest consumer food brand," said Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC Markets.

On the currency markets, the pound was down 0.5% against the dollar at $1.2427 and up by 0.1% against the euro at 1.1708 euros.