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Unilever acquires Sara Lee's personal-care business

This article was originally published in The Rose Sheet

Executive Summary

Consumer products firm announced Sept. 25 its $1.88 billion offer to purchase the global personal-care business of Sara Lee Corp. Sara Lee's global body-care portfolio includes products Sanex, Radox and Duschdas, and generates annual sales of more than $1 billion, according to the firm. "Personal care is a strategic category and a key growth driver for Unilever," says Unilever CEO Paul Polman. "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." The transaction is expected to close in early 2010, according to Downers Grove, Ill.-based Sara Lee. "The divestiture of body care and European detergents would advance our strategy to concentrate on our core food and beverage business where we enjoy a strong competitive position and where we can generate superior shareholder returns," says Chairman and CEO Brenda C. Barnes. "We intend to use the proceeds from the divestiture to invest for growth in our core businesses and to repurchase stock.
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