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Brussels, 8 September 2010

Mergers: Commission accepts referral of proposed acquisition of Sara Lee's household insecticide unit by SC Johnson

The European Commission has accepted the request by six EU Member States to assess under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Sara Lee household insecticide business by SC Johnson (SCJ). The deal did not qualify for the EU's one-stop shop review because the merging parties do not meet the triggering turnover threshold, but the national competition authorities of Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Italy and Spain asked the Commission to examine the impact of the deal on their territories.

Sara Lee is a US based corporation specialized in the manufacturing and marketing of a wide range of consumer goods. Sara Lee's household insecticides business is active in the manufacturing and marketing of various types of insecticides for household use. The proposed transaction is part of Sara Lee's strategy to sell its international household and body care segment to focus on its overall strategy to be a leading global food and beverage company. The insecticide unit is to be bought by SC Johnson, a US based corporation specialized in the manufacturing, development and distribution of household cleaning products.

The proposed acquisition of the insecticide unit was initially notified for regulatory clearance in Spain and Portugal as the turnover of the merging parties did not meet the EU threshold.

Spain and subsequently Belgium, Greece, France, Czech Republic and Italy submitted a referral request pursuant to Article 22(1) of the Merger Regulation, which allows Member States to request the Commission to examine a concentration that does not have a Community dimension but affects trade within the EU's internal market and threatens to significantly affect competition within the territory of the Member States making the request.

The Commission, after reviewing whether these requests fulfilled the said conditions, accepted the requests of Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Italy and Spain. The Commission will now ask SCJ to notify the deal.

Separately, the Commission is presently carrying out an in-depth investigation into the proposed acquisition of the Sara Lee Body Care unit by Unilever (see IP/10/640). The deadline for a final ruling is 22 October. It has already cleared the acquisition of the Sara Lee Air Care by Procter & Gamble (see IP/10/754).

More information on the case will be available at:

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