New York — Kraft Heinz Company’s $143bn bid for Unilever collapsed just two days after it became public knowledge, with the adamance of the Anglo-Dutch target’s rejection said to have played into billionaire Warren Buffett’s longtime aversion to hostile deals. The decision not to pursue what could have been the largest-ever takeover in the food and beverage industry came after 3G Capital and Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, which together own about half of Kraft Heinz, decided Unilever’s negative response made a friendly transaction impossible, leaving no choice but to walk away, people with knowledge of the situation said. Both also believed that a protracted war of words was not in the best interest of Kraft and would risk souring future deal opportunities, the people said, asking not to be named because the process was private. While there were minor concerns about opposition from the UK government, according to one of the people, the companies were optimistic that they could win th...

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