Unilever Receives Approval to Acquire Alberto Culver

Unilever today announced that it has reached an agreement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) that will   complete its proposed acquisition of the Alberto Culver Company.  Subject to customary closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to close on or about May 10, 2011.

Paul Polman, Unilever CEO said, "We are very pleased to have received the regulatory clearances necessary for us to complete the acquisition.  This acquisition is a further step in Unilever’s transformation.  The deal enhances Unilever’s presence in attractive, high-growth categories and brings a portfolio of desirable brands that are gaining share. It also gives Unilever the opportunity to use its scale, reach and technology to take Alberto Culver’s brands to a new level in existing markets, and enables us to use our unparalleled presence in emerging markets to extend them further." 

The Alberto Culver deal is the latest in a series of acquisitions that includes the home and personal care products of Sara Lee in 2010, the premium hair-care company TIGI in 2009 and ice cream businesses in Russia, Greece and Denmark.  These acquisitions are improving the mix of the company’s portfolio towards higher growth areas in developed markets and filling in category gaps in fast-growing developing and emerging markets. 

With the acquisition Unilever becomes the world’s leading company in hair conditioning, the second largest in shampoo and the third largest in styling.

The acquisition of Alberto Culver brings together an impressive range of brands such as TRESemmé, Nexxus, Motions, St. Ives and Simple with Unilever’s existing portfolio of iconic brands like Dove, Clear, Suave, TIGI (Bed Head, Catwalk and S-Factor) and Sunsilk in hair care and Pond’s and Vaseline in skin.  The acquisition also significantly enhances Unilever’s hair care position in the US, Canada, the UK, Mexico and Australasia – all of which will be significant hair care markets for years to come.

Under the terms of the agreement with the US DOJ, Unilever will  divest the Alberto VO5 brand in the United States from the Alberto Culver portfolio and  the Rave brand from the Unilever portfolio.  Upon completing the transaction, Unilever will continue to advance the growth potential of the Alberto VO5 brand in markets outside the United States, such as the UK, South Africa, and Australasia, where the brand has a strong consumer base.

The Alberto Culver transaction remains subject to regulatory approval in the United Kingdom, Argentina, Honduras, El Salvador and the Isle of Jersey.  As such, the relevant businesses will remain competitors in these jurisdictions until the acquisition has been approved by the respective local authorities, which are expected in due course.  Where relevant, appropriate arrangements have been put in place in these jurisdictions to allow completion of the global acquisition of Alberto Culver.

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Media Contacts:

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London: Paul Matthews +44 1372 945925 / +44 775 276 8888

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About Unilever

Unilever works to create a better future every day.  We help people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others.

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with strong operations in more than 100 countries and sales in 180. Consumers buy 170bn Unilever packs around the world every year, and our products are used over two billion times a day.

Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known and most loved brands including twelve €1 billion brands, and global leadership in many categories in which we operate. The portfolio features iconic brands such as: Knorr, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Dove, Vaseline, Persil, Cif, Marmite and Pot Noodle.

We have around 167,000 employees in over 100 countries, and generated annual sales of €44.3 billion in 2010. For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit our section on About us.

It recently launched the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan aiming to halve its overall environmental footprint. Unilever is Food Industry Leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for the 12th year running. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. We are also ranked 7th in the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World, a list compiled by Corporate Knights Magazine. We achieved Platinum Plus standard in the UK’s Business in the Community Corporate Responsibility Index 2009, and were named Company of the Year in 2010.

About Alberto Culver Company

Alberto Culver Company manufactures, distributes and markets leading beauty care and other personal care brands including TRESemmé, Alberto VO5, Nexxus, St. Ives, Simple and Noxzema in the United States and internationally. It is also the second largest producer in the U.S. of products for the ethnic hair care market with leading brands including Motions and Soft & Beautiful. For more information visit: www.alberto.com(Link opens in a new window)

SafeHarbour

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 Group’s Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended 31 December 2010. 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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EC4Y 0DY

+44 (0) 20 7822 5252
Press-Office.London@Unilever.com

Unilever NV

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www.unilever.nl(Link opens in a new window)

+31 (0) 10 217 4000
mediarelations.rotterdam@unilever.com

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