By  on May 9, 2011

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department said Friday it will require Unilever and Alberto-Culver Co. to divest two hair care brands before Unilever can move forward with its $3.7 billion cash acquisition of Alberto-Culver, the Illinois-based owner of such brands as Nexxus, V05 and St. Ives.

The department’s antitrust division filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court here on Friday to block the proposed acquisition between three Unilever entities — Unilever NV, Unilever plc and Conopco Inc. — and Alberto-Culver. But at the same time, the agency filed a proposed settlement that, with court approval, would resolve the competitive concerns alleged in the lawsuit.

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