Sara Lee receives offer for body care division, food focus to intensify

Posted by Isobel Drake on 28th September 2009

Sara Lee has reported a binding bid of almost A$2.2 billion (€1.275 billion) from consumer products giant Unilever to acquire its global body care and European detergents businesses.

Sara Lee announced plans to divest the business, which includes brands like Radox, earlier this year to allow for a heightened focus on their food divisions. They are still looking for a buyer on the remainder of their household care division.

The proposed transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances, is anticipated to close during calendar year 2010.

“The divestiture of body care and European detergents would advance our strategy to concentrate on our core food and beverage businesses where we enjoy a strong competitive position and where we can generate superior shareholder returns,” said Brenda Barnes, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sara Lee. “We intend to use proceeds from the divestiture to invest for growth in our core businesses and to repurchase stock.”

Sara Lee’s International Household and Body Care business generated approximately €1.5 billion (A$2.6 billion) in sales in fiscal 2009. The remainder of its household business, which is not included in the proposed transaction, includes the Ambi Pur air care brand, Kiwi shoe care and White King bleach brands.