Unilever shareholders will be asked to approve the acquisition of Bestfoods at extraordinary general meetings in London and Rotterdam on Monday, October 2, 2000.

Agreement to acquire Bestfoods was announced on June 6. It is subject to both shareholder approval and regulatory clearances. Unilever and Bestfoods have filed for anti-trust clearance from the Federal Trade Commission in the United States and Unilever has formally filed today, August 16, with the European Commission.

In a shareholder circular published today, the Unilever chairmen Niall FitzGerald and Antony Burgmans write: “The acquisition of Bestfoods will bring into the Unilever family of companies an outstanding international foods business.”

The acquisition is directly in line with Unilever’s Path to Growth strategy which requires the focus of resources on leading brands with enduring consumer appeal. “The focused Bestfoods range of products exhibits just these characteristics. Indeed, the Board believes that the acquisition will accelerate our strategy and provide a platform for expansion into new channels, markets and regions,” the chairmen write.

They conclude: “As the integration of the businesses proceeds, we will ensure that the very best resources, whether derived from Unilever or Bestfoods, are used to drive our combined business forward to create the pre-eminent global food and consumer products business.”

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By GlobalData

The extraordinary general meetings of Unilever PLC and Unilever N.V. will be held at: Unilever House, Blackfriars, London EC4P 4BQ, on Monday, October 2, 2000 at 9.30 a.m. and at Unilever House, Weena 455, 3013 AL Rotterdam, on Monday, October 2, 2000 at 10 a.m.

It is expected that the Bestfoods’ shareholder meeting will be held on or about October 2. Details to be announced by Bestfoods in due course.

The text of the shareholder circular may be accessed on www.unilever.com

UNILEVER BACKGROUND: Unilever is one of the world’s largest consumer products companies with sales in excess of $45 billion. It produces and markets a wide range of foods, home and personal care products. Unilever operates in 88 countries around the globe and employs 255,000 people.

In the United States, Unilever sales exceeded $8 billion in 1999. It employs 22,000 people and has 72 offices and manufacturing sites in 24 states. Two of Unilever’s 12 global Business Groups are headquartered in the United States. Some of their major products are: Foods – North America: Lipton teas, soups, recipe products and side dishes; Wish-Bone salad dressings; Lawry’s seasonings and specialty sauces; Imperial, Promise, Country Crock, “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!”, Brummel & Brown spreads and sprays; Ragu pasta and pizza sauces; Five Brothers premium pasta sauces; Klondike, Good-Humor, Popsicle, Breyers and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream products, Gorton’s frozen seafood products and Slim-Fast nutritional and health snack products. Unilever Home and Personal Care – North America: Wisk, “all” and Surf laundry detergents; Snuggle and Final Touch fabric softeners; Sunlight dish detergents; Lever 2000, Caress, Dove and Shield bar soaps; Pond’s and Vaseline skin care products; Q-tips cotton swabs and cotton balls; Mentadent, Aim, Close-up and Pepsodent oral care products; Degree, Suave and Brut deodorant/toiletry products; Finesse, Salon Selectives, Suave, ThermaSilk, Aqua Net and Rave hair care products; and Calvin Klein and Elizabeth Arden cosmetic and fragrance products. In addition, DiverseyLever, a global professional cleaning business, operates in North America, supplying professional cleaning materials and services to institutional and industrial markets.