Unilever’s $3.7 billion takeover of Alberto-Culver Co., the Dutch manufacturer’s biggest purchase in a decade, may be reviewed by U.K. antitrust regulators.
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.