European Commission to investigate Unilever acquisition of Sara Lee

Competition concerns could halt Unilever/Sara Lee deal

The European Commission is to launch an investigation into the acquisition of the beauty and hygiene products sector of Sara Lee by Unilever on the grounds that the deal could pose problems for competition regulations. The sale of the body care arm of the US group for €1.2 bn was announced in September 2009.

The investigation has to be concluded by 5 October and follows a preliminary inquiry which reportedly showed that the operation, in the words of the Commission, "could give rise to problems of competition on markets, especially in the deodorant and skin cleansing products segments". The ranges concerned include Sanex and the Monsavon range. Unilever already had the Axe, Sunsilk and Dove brands.