By  on November 30, 2010

A group of Alberto Culver Co. shareholders said Monday they had reached a settlement modifying terms of the company’s $3.7 billion cash acquisition by Unilever.

According to the plaintiffs, Alberto Culver has agreed to eliminate the “matching rights” provision granted to Unilever, allowing it to match any competing offers received, and to reduce the breakup fee attached to the deal to $100 million from $125 million. Competing bidders would be privy to the same information given to Unilever. The shareholder vote on the deal was pushed back to Dec. 17 from Dec. 13.

A spokesman for Alberto Culver didn’t respond to requests for comment, and documents from the Delaware Chancery Court weren’t available. The settlement remains subject to court approval.

Alberto Culver and Unilever announced the agreement on Sept. 27.

The shareholder group is led by Oklahoma Firefighters; the city of Riviera Beach, Fla.; Laborers Local 235, and KBC Asset Management.

“This settlement removes the barriers to any potential acquirer who wants to put forth a superior bid,” said Stuart Grant, partner at Grant & Eisenhofer, which jointly represented the investors with Bernstein Litowitz.

Unilever agreed to pay $37.50 a share for Alberto Culver. Shares closed at $31.41 on the Friday before the deal was unveiled and jumped to 5 cents above the accepted offer price on the day the acquisition was revealed. They closed at $37.22 Monday, up 2 cents.

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