London: US consumer goods group Colgate-Palmolive has agreed to pay around $940 million for Sanex, a shower gel and deodorant brand which owner Unilever had been ordered to sell.
The European Commission asked Unilever to divest Sanex for anti-trust reasons after the Anglo-Dutch company acquired it when buying US group Sara Lee’s personal care business in 2009.
Sanex had sales of $265 million in 2010, largely in Western Europe.
Also on Wednesday, Unilever agreed to buy Colgate’s laundry detergent brands in Colombia, such as Fab, Lavomatic and Vel, for $215 million. Colgate said the deals were expected to add, on a combined basis, about 4% to earnings in 2011.
Colgate chairman and chief executive Ian Cook said: “Sanex is a very strong brand that we have admired for a long time”.
The transactions are part of Colgate’s strategy to focus on its high-margin, strategically important oral care, personal care and pet nutrition businesses, Cook said.
The deals come less than a year after Cook said Colgate was eyeing acquisitions in oral care, pet nutrition and personal care businesses.
Citigroup Global Markets acted as financial adviser to Colgate-Palmolive on both the transactions.
Unilever Plc shares were up 1% at 1,828 pence at 5.10 pm in a slightly firmer London stock market