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Johnson Wax Professional to buy DiverseyLever

November 20, 2001
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Johnson Wax Professional said it will acquire the Unilever company's institutional and industrial cleaning business, DiverseyLever.

RACINE, Wis. -- Johnson Wax Professional said it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire DiverseyLever, the Unilever ( company's institutional and industrial cleaning business.

The consolidation is the largest ever in the institutional and industrial (I& I) markets, and is valued at approximately $1.6 billion. The acquisition remains subject to regulatory approval, but is expected to be completed in early 2002.

The complete the deal, privately-held Johnson Wax Professional will compensate Unilever with a combination of cash and a note, and a one-third interest in the combined company. The combined company will be led by a management committee of Johnson Wax Professional's chairman, S. Curtis Johnson, and its president and CEO, Gregory Lawton. Its global headquarters will remain in Racine, Wis.

"We are extremely excited about the long-term strategic benefits from this transaction," said Lawton. "Combining our strengths with those of DiverseyLever will result in a company that has the size, strength and geographic reach to compete anywhere in the world with anyone in the industry."

DiverseyLever ( is among the leading providers of cleaning products, equipment and services for the I& I market.

Johnson Wax Professional ( has about 3,800 employees and is a world leader in the I& I marketplace. Together with its Racine-based Johnson Polymer subsidiary and several other global subsidiaries, it brings its products and services to more than 50 countries, with a strong presence in North America and Japan.

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