Ex-Unilever exec spearheads £1bn bid for Reckitt’s Clearasil

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A former Unilever executive is spearheading a £1bn bid to buy Clearasil, Veet and other prominent personal care brands.

Sky News has learnt that Vindi Banga, who spent more than three decades at Unilever, is overseeing an offer from Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) for the portfolio of brands owned by Reckitt Benckiser.

Sources said that CD&R was among a small number of private equity firms examining offers for the assets being offloaded by the FTSE-100 consumer goods group.

As well as Veet and Clearasil, the brands being sold are said to include Scholl footcare products and E45 skin cream.

The auction is one of the first big moves from Laxman Narasimhan, who took over as Reckitt's chief executive last year.

City insiders said that Platinum Equity had also expressed an interest in the Reckitt assets, although it was unclear whether it had tabled a formal bid.

Mr Banga's roles at Unilever included running its home and personal care arm, one of the group's main profit centres.

FMCG groups have generally performed well during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly those with portfolios focused on consumer health and hygiene.

Sources said there was no guarantee that Reckitt would sell the brands if offers did not prove sufficiently attractive.

CD&R and Reckitt declined to comment on Monday.