* Expects EC to open phase 2 of approval process
* Now expects to close in Q4, not Q3
(Adds detail, quote, background)
LONDON, May 25 Consumer goods giant Unilever
Plc/NV (ULVR.L) (UNc.AS) expects the European Commission will
take a closer look at its Sara Lee SLE.N unit purchase,
delaying the deal to the fourth quarter of 2010.
The Anglo-Dutch maker of Dove soap and Sunsilk shampoo had
originally expected the deal for the Sara Lee personal care
business, with 750 million euros of annual sales, to close in
the third quarter.
Unliever agreed to buy the business last September for 1.3
billion euros ($1.6 billion), and now expects the acquisition
will move to Phase 2 of the EC approval process for a more
Unilever is planning to buy a portfolio of more than 90
brands such as Sanex deodorants and Radox bodywash products in
19 European countries and says the Commission will need more
time to look at the acquisition, market by market, than was
possible under Phase 1 of the process.
"The deal is on track to be completed in Q4 2010. The Sara
Lee personal care and European laundry brands are maintaining
strong levels of growth, and Unilever continues to believe the
deal will play a significant role in accelerating its growth in
Western Europe," Unilever said in a statement on Tuesday.
Around 85 percent of its sales are in Western Europe with
the remaining 15 percent in developing markets.
(Reporting by David Jones, editing by Will Waterman)