Unilever seeks to buy personal care sector of Sara Lee


LONDON Unilever is looking to acquire the personal care business of the Sara Lee Corp. for $1.2 billion in cash, a move Unilever believes will further strengthen its positions in skin cleansing and deodorants.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and consultation with European employee works councils.

"Personal care is a strategic category and a key growth driver for Unilever. This transaction builds on our portfolio in Western Europe and also in Asia. The Sara Lee brands enjoy strong consumer recognition, offer significant growth potential and are an excellent fit with Unilever's existing business," stated Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever.

Vindi Banga, president foods, home and personal care added, "We are delighted to have the opportunity to acquire such a strong stable of brands, which will help build on our global leadership positions in Skin Cleansing and Deodorants. They are a perfect complement to Unilever's existing portfolio of brands like Dove, Axe and Rexona."

According to Unilever, the acquisition will strengthen its positions overall in Western Europe. In addition, Unilever sees significant potential to build these brands in developing and emerging markets, which already generate approximately 15% of its annual sales.

The Sara Lee brands generated annual sales in excess of $750 million with an EBITDA of $128 million for the year ending June 2009.

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