Colgate buys Sanex from Unilever for $940 million

LONDON Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:11am EDT

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LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. 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 U.S. group Sara Lee's personal care business in 2009.

Sanex had sales of 187 million euros ($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 percent 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."

Unilever Plc shares were up 1 percent at 1,828 pence at 1140 GMT (7:40 a.m. EDT) in a slightly firmer London stock market.

(Reporting by David Jones; Editing by Dan Lalor)

($1 = 0.7054 euro)

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