Unilever has received clearance from the European Commission for its acquisition of the personal care and European laundry business of the Sara Lee Corporation. Unilever will complete the transaction in 2010, significantly strengthening both regional and local positions in personal care by adding No. 1 brands including Radox, Duschdas and Neutral to its mix.
The acquisition of these brands complements Unilever’s existing category leading portfolio of iconic brands such as Axe, Dove and Rexona. With this extended range, the business can cover a wider spectrum of price points and better meet the demands of more consumers in more markets. As a result, Unilever expects to be able to stimulate further growth in an intensely competitive market.
Approval of the transaction follows the satisfactory completion of a detailed review by the European Commission, during which Unilever has undertaken to divest the Sanex brand in the European market.
Doug Baillie, president of Unilever in Western Europe, said, “We are pleased to have received the green light from the European Commission for this deal, and we look forward to adding these important brands to our business. Home and personal care is a key growth category, and we are acquiring a number of leading brands that fill gaps in our portfolio and improve the shape of our overall European portfolio while offering significant potential for development in other geographies.”
In addition to Radox, Duschdas and Neutral, the deal includes local category leaders such as Zwitsal and Fissan in baby care and Prodent and Zendium in oral care. Together these brands will enhance Unilever’s category mix and deliver breadth and depth to its already very successful portfolio.
Unilever will be paying €1.2 billion in cash for the Sara Lee personal care and European laundry business. The Sara Lee brands to be acquired generated annual sales in excess of €750 million for the year ending June 2009.