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By
AFP
Published
Jun 1, 2010
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EU probes €1.28 billion Unilever-Sara Lee deal

By
AFP
Published
Jun 1, 2010

BRUSSELS, June 1, 2010 (AFP) - European competition authorities announced on Tuesday 1 June a probe into a 1.28-billion-euro takeover by Anglo-Dutch food and cosmetics group Unilever of US giant Sara Lee Corp's personal care division.

Unilever, Sara Lee
Photo: AFP

"The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation," said a statement from Brussels, highlighting concerns over deodorants, skin cleansing and fabric care products under the 1.5-billion-dollar deal.

"The commission's initial investigation has shown that the transaction would bring together a number of very important brands that currently compete against each other," it added.

The European Union's competition commissioner said "significant overlaps" on "everyday" household products would skew market shares in some countries, leading to fears of "higher prices for final consumers."

The commission has until October 5, 2010 to take any further action, with the companies yet to come up with remedies for its concerns.

Separately, Brussels is already due to decide by June 17 what to do about worries over Procter & Gamble's purchase of Sara Lee's air fresheners division.

The Sara Lee personal care business posted sales of more than 750 million euros in the 12 months to June 2009, according to Unilever at the time of announcing the deal in September.

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