* EU has competition concerns over proposed deal
* Unilever previously declined to make concessions
* Company has two weeks to reply to EU objections
AMSTERDAM, Aug 19 Anglo-Dutch consumer
products group Unilever (UNc.AS)(ULVR.L) said on Thursday it
had been sent a statement of objections from the European
Commission over its bid for Sara Lee Corp's SLE.N body care
European Union regulators extended their probe into the
$1.3 billion deal in June after Unilever declined to offer
concessions to address competition worries, extending the
deadline for a decision until Oct. 5 from May 31.
"We have received the statement of objections from the
European Commission and we remain confident that a positive
agreement can be concluded in the fourth quarter of 2010,"
Unilever said in an emailed statement.
Unilever, which makes Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Knorr soup
and Dove soap, declined to comment on the content of the EU's
The Commission said in June an initial investigation raised
potential competition concerns about several product markets
such as deodorants, skin cleansing and fabric care products.
Commission spokeswoman Amelia Torres declined to comment on
Thursday, but added that Oct. 5 remains the deadline for a
Unilever had previously said it expected the deal to be
completed in the 2010 fourth quarter, later than its previous
estimate of a third-quarter close.
Companies usually have about two weeks to reply to a
statement of objections and receiving such a statement does not
necessarily mean the deal will not be approved, although some
divestments might be required to gain approval.
Dutch personal navigation device TomTom (TOM2.AS) was also
sent a statement of objections in 2008 over its bid for Dutch
mapmaker Tele Atlas, but the EU eventually approved that deal.
(Reporting by Aaron Gray-Block; Editing by Richard Chang)