Unilever Gets Approval to Buy Sara Lee Unit

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Consumer goods companyUnilever (UL) won approval from the European Union to buy Sara Lee Corp's (SLE) shower gel and European detergents business.

Unilever agreed to sell off the Sanex deodorant and body-wash brands in the region as part of the deal, Bloomberg News reported. The sale allays competition worries about the 1.3 billion euro ($1.76 billion) deal, the European Commission said.

"We had to ensure that the transaction would not lead to increased prices for consumers," Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said. "As Unilever offered a strong and clear- cut remedy to address the competition concerns in a number of deodorant markets, the commission was able to clear the merger."

The European antitrust agency said that consumers might have faced higher prices if Unilever combined the Sanex brand with its own Dove and Rexona brands.

The approval allows Unilever to add important brands to its "key growth category" of home and personal care, according to Doug Baillie, the Unilever president for Western Europe.
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