Procter & Gamble Co. Plus Sara Lee Corp. Makes a Good Deal

Procter & Gamble Co. has agreed to buy Sara Lee Corp.'s European air-freshener business for €320 million ($470 million).

The price tag is less than what had been discussed recently. Some had previously told reporters that the business could fetch up to $700 million.

For the fiscal year ended in June, Ambi Pur had sales of about €260 million. The unit's portfolio includes plug-in and stand-by air fresheners, aerosol spray and toilet-cleaning products.

Sara Lee said Friday the deal helps the company focus on its core food and beverage businesses, "where we have a strong competitive position and can generate superior shareholder returns," said Chairman and Chief Executive Brenda C. Barnes. The company is currently trying to divest from its household and body-care businesses. It also said it's receiving "strong interest" in the remainder of its household business.

P&G said the deal, which shouldn't have a material impact on the company's results this year, helps it extend its reach globally. Ambi Pur has a presence in more than 80 countries, and the acquired toilet-care products have a "strong presence in Western Europe and Asia."

The deal is expected to close by midyear. Among the other reported suitors for the business was privately held S.C. S.C. Johnson & Son Inc., maker of cleaning products ranging from Glade air fresheners to Windex.

In October, P&G said its fiscal first-quarter earnings fell 1%, but the company raised its full-year projections, signaling its efforts to boost sales might be paying off.

Meanwhile, Sara Lee in November said its first-quarter earnings jumped more than 20% as the company saw lower costs.

Shares of P&G rose 16 cents to $62.40 in recent trading, and Sara Lee stock was up 3 cents to $12.22.

The Wall Street Journal has contributed to the report.

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