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Unilever Given Go-Ahead To Acquire Alberto Culver For 3.7 Billion

Unilever NV and the US Department of Justice have been wrangling over antitrust concerns as a result of Unilever NV's attempt to acquire hair care giant Alberto Culver Co. for $3.7 billion dollars.

The good news for Unilever NV is that the antitrust issues have been settled. A final deal was announced Friday by the U.S. Department of Justice as reported by Goggle News and the Associated Press.

In order for Unilver NV to acquire Alberto Culver it much divest its VO5 hair care brand in the United States. Unilver will also sell of its Rave brand in the US.

The company can continue to sell VO5 and Rave outside the U.S. The VO5 brand consists of shampoo, conditioners, hairsprays, mousse and related hair styling products. Rave consists of hairsprays and mousse styling products.

The original proposal, if let stand by The Justice Department would have given Unilever NV approximately 90 percent of the U.S. low end priced market for shampoo and conditioners and 46% of the U.S. hairspray market.

The U.S. Justice Department expressed concern that if Unilever NV, based in the Netherlands, had been allowed to move forward with the original acquisition plan, there would have been significantly reduced competition and ultimately higher prices to consumers.

The the deal as it was originally constructed would have significantly reduced competition in the market for low-price shampoo, conditioner and hairspray.

The acquisition will make Unilever, based in the Netherlands, the world's leading company in hair conditioning, the second-largest shampoo seller and the third-largest maker of hair styling products.

In addition to VO5, Alberto Culver, based in Melrose Park, Ill., near Chicago, makes personal care products under the TRESemme, Nexxus, St. Ives and Noxzema brands, among others.

The deal was announced in September and approved by Alberto Culver's shareholders in December. It is now expected to close on Tuesday. Unilever acquired professional hair care company TIGI which is based in Dallas, Texas. Unilvere acquired TIGI in 2009.

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