The Office of Fair Trading is examining whether the deal may trigger “a relevant merger situation” and whether it was likely to reduce competition, the regulator said in a statement today. Unilever, the maker of Dove soap, said in September it would pay $37.50 a share in cash for Alberto-Culver.
A review could delay Unilever’s bid to double its total sales by expanding its range of home and personal-care products. Melrose Park, Illinois-based Alberto-Culver, the maker of VO5, Nexxus and TRESemme hair-care products, last month settled U.S. shareholder lawsuits that claimed the takeover wasn’t favorable to investors.
Paul Matthews, a spokesman for London- and Rotterdam-based Unilever, declined to immediately comment.
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