LONDON (AP) â€” Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company Unilever has agreed to sell its Elizabeth Arden perfumes business for $225 million, as part of its effort to shed operations that don't meet its strategic needs.
Unilever, whose brands include Pepsodent toothpaste, Lipton tea and Ragu spaghetti sauce, said Tuesday it has reached the deal with FFI Fragrances, a perfume-maker based in Miami Lakes, Fla.
The sale is the latest step in Unilever's campaign to scale back its work force and reduce its number of brands to 400 from around 1,600.
The company is selling its Elizabeth Arden line of fragrances and skin care products, including the White Shoulders brand. FFI will acquire the license to produce the Passion and Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds brands of perfume.
Unilever will keep its Prestige fragrance brands, including Cerruti, Lagerfeld, Chloe and Valentino.
``Although Elizabeth Arden has improved over the last couple of years, we feel that it can be best developed outside our business,'' Prestige head Charles Strauss said in a statement.
The deal involves the transfer of about 1,500 employees to FFI, Unilever said.
Unilever bought Elizabeth Arden in 1989, but the business is understood to have shown disappointing results.
FFI plans to add the products to its own offering of 230 fragrances, including Lapidus Pour Homme.
Unilever is in process of reorganizing into two global divisions â€” one for foods and the other for home and personal care products, such as shampoo, perfume and detergents.
The Elizabeth Arden sale comes in the wake of Unilever's $21.3 billion acquisition of the U.S. company Bestfoods. Unilever bought the Ben & Jerry's ice cream business and Slim-Fast Foods in April.
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