The European Commission expected to move to phase II for the personal care and European laundry business of Sara Lee

Unilever’s acquisition of the Personal Care and European Laundry business of the Sara Lee Corporation is expected to move to Phase II of the European Commission’s approval process.

The Phase II process will involve a detailed analysis of the impact of the acquisition, market by market.

Under the terms of the €1.275bn offer, Unilever will acquire a portfolio of more than 90 brands, across a number of different categories in 19 European countries. It has become clear from Phase I that the Commission needed more time to determine the full implications of the deal from a competition perspective on particular European markets.

Unilever welcomes the opportunity to engage more fully with the Commission’s competition authorities. Unilever believes the process will balance the legitimate interest of the Commission with the company’s desire to maximise the opportunities from an acquisition that will deliver more value to consumers, customers and investors.

The deal is on track to be completed in Q4 2010. The Sara Lee personal care and European laundry brands are maintaining strong levels of growth and Unilever continues to believe the deal will play a significant role in accelerating its growth in Western Europe.


About the acquisition
Unilever will pay €1.275 billion in cash for the Sara Lee Personal Care and European Laundry business. The deal will include leading brands such as Sanex, Radox and Duschdas. The Sara Lee brands which will be acquired generated annual sales in excess of €750 million for the year ending June 2009. The acquired brands currently represent 15% of turnover in developing and emerging markets.

In addition to brands such Sanex, Radox and Duschdas, Unilever will also acquire well-established and trusted brands in the Oral Care, Baby Care and Laundry categories. Brands will include Monsavon (Skin Cleansing), Prodent and Zendium (Oral Care), Zwitsal and Fissan (Baby Care) and Biotex and Neutral (Laundry).

Safe harbour

This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, including ‘forward-looking statements’ within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as ‘expects’, ‘anticipates’, ‘intends’, ‘believes’ or the negative of these terms and other similar expressions of future performance or results, and their negatives, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and assumptions regarding anticipated developments and other factors affecting the Group. They are not historical facts, nor are they guarantees of future performance. Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements, including, among others, competitive pricing and activities, economic slowdown, industry consolidation, access to credit markets, recruitment levels, reputational risks, commodity prices, continued availability of raw materials, prioritisation of projects, consumption levels, costs, the ability to maintain and manage key customer relationships and supply chain sources, consumer demands, currency values, interest rates, the ability to integrate acquisitions and complete planned divestitures, the ability to complete planned restructuring activities, physical risks, environmental risks, the ability to manage regulatory, tax and legal matters and resolve pending matters within current estimates, legislative, fiscal and regulatory developments, political, economic and social conditions in the geographic markets where the Group operates and new or changed priorities of the Boards. Further details of potential risks and uncertainties affecting the Group are described in the Group’s filings with the London Stock Exchange, Euronext Amsterdam and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, including the 20-F Report and the Annual Report and Accounts 2009. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this document. Except as required by any applicable law or regulation, the Group expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in the Group’s expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

Unilever PLC

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