U.K. Office of Fair Trading OKs Unilever's partial divestment of bar soap business

LONDON — Unilever's offer to shed some of its bar soap business to win United Kingdom competition approval for its acquisition of hair and personal care products manufacturer Alberto Culver was accepted by the U.K. Office of Fair Trading.

"Following a consultation, and having carefully assessed the financial position and commitment of the purchaser, Lornamead, we are satisfied that this divestment will ensure there continues to be effective competition in this market," said Ali Nikpay, OFT senior director for U.K. Office of Fair Trading.

While the Cidal and Wright's brands are to be sold outright, the divestment of the Simple brand for bar soaps is to be affected by a perpetual and royalty-free licence covering the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Channel Islands, the OFT stated.

The U.S. Department of Justice already granted Unilever clearance for the $3.7 billion acquisition after agreeing to sell the hair care brands Alberto VO5 in the United States from the Alberto Culver portfolio and Rave from the Unilever portfolio.

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