Unilever's Struggle For Growth

It was billed as the soap story of the century: By early 1994, Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch company that has made brighter washes its business for 106 years, was ready to launch a new detergent in a Europewide extravaganza. Company executives were eager to best archrival Procter & Gamble Co., which drubbed Unilever in a recent U.S. price war and was grabbing a big lead in Europe. With Unilever's stock price getting battered and profits slipping, this one had to be a hit. Or else.

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