Just 48 hours after its play for Unilever became public, Kraft Heinz quietly withdrew its $143 billion merger offer.
The two firms announced over the weekend: "Unilever and Kraft Heinz hereby announce that Kraft Heinz has amicably agreed to withdraw its proposal for a combination of the two companies. Unilever and Kraft Heinz hold each other in high regard. Kraft Heinz has the utmost respect for the culture, strategy and leadership of Unilever."
The financial and food communities were preparing to observe a contentious battle between the two titans. While public, Kraft Heinz is majority-owned by Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway. 3G in particular has a history of aggressive pursuits, including Burger King and a key role in InBev's acquisition of Anheuser-Busch Cos.
Analysts last year were speculating that Kraft Heinz, a little over a year after digesting Kraft, was on the hunt for another major acquisition. Rumors focused on Mondelez International, although General Mills also was mentioned.