Sara Lee sells rest of body care brands to Unilever

By Associated Press
Posted Dec. 6, 2010 at 10:09 a.m.

Sara Lee Corp. has completed the $1.6 billion sale of its body care and European detergent segments to Unilever NV, the food company said Monday.

Sara Lee, which announced the 1.21 billion euro sale in September 2009, has been shedding several of its units as it looks to focus on its more-profitable businesses such Hillshire Farms meat and Senseo coffee.

The company based in Downers Grove, Ill., has also sold its Ambi Pure air freshener business to Procter & Gamble Co. and its stake in a joint venture in India that makes insecticides.

Last month Sara Lee, whose other brands include Ball Park and Jimmy Dean, announced that it would sell its struggling North American bread-making business to Mexican baking giant Grupo Bimbo for $959 million.

The sale of Sara Lee’s body care and European detergent businesses gives Unilever the brands Sanex — a cheaper parallel of its Dove brand — and Duschdas, a German shower gel maker. It will also get several strong regional brands such as Radox bubble bath and Switzal, a maker of baby shampoo.

Unilever, the world’s third-largest consumer products company after Procter & Gamble Co. and Nestle SA, previously said its Dove, Axe and Rexona lines would complement the Sara Lee brands.

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