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September 25, 2009 – Comments (0) | RELATED TICKERS: HSH

Sara Lee: Household Unit Drawing Potential Buyers

Published: Friday, 25 Sep 2009 | 10:50 AM ET 

By: CNBC.com with wires

Sara Lee CEO Brenda Barnes told CNBC that there is "significant" interest from potential buyers in the company's remaining household-care business.

Sara Lee agreed Friday to sell its personal care business to consumer good giant Unilever ($1.87 billion).

Unilever, which already owns brands such as Dove, Lux and Sunsilk, said the deal will strengthen its category leadership in areas such as skin cleansing and deodorants.

Sara Lee has been undergoing a multi-year restructuring effort, in an attempt to pare its business down to its core food and beverage operations. As part of this effort, the company  had put its household and personal care business up for sale earlier this year.

With the personal care business agreed to be sold, the remaining assets in the household business includes the Kiwi shoe polish brand, Ambi Pur air fresheners and Vapona insecticides.

"We do have a process underway for the balance, and we are quite confident that we will have something in the near future," Barnes said in an interview.

The Sara Lee brands being acquired by Unilever generated annual sales in excess of 750 million euros with underlying operating profit, or EBITDA, of 128 million euros for the year ending June 2009.

"We’re very happy with the deal," Barnes said. "We certainly see this as a way to return value to our shareholders and felt that attractive offer with Unilever would do that for us."

(Reuters contributed to this report.)

© 2009 CNBC.com

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