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Reckitt may sell off Scholl unit after SSL takeover

SSL shares up 33 per cent following announcement, suggesting possible counter-bid.

Consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser could offload SSL International's Scholl business unit, if it takes over the company in a £2.54bn bid.

Reckitt, the maker of 'power brands' such as Cillit Bang, has made an all-cash offer for SSL, and would pay the Durex owner's shareholders £11.63 a share under the deal.

Although Reckitt is said to be keen to add the Durex and Scholl brands to its portfolio, once the deal is completed, the Times reports that it would review SSL's businesses to decide on which could be sold.

SSL saw its share price rise more than fourfold in the past five years. Sales of its Scholl footwear division were up 7.4 per cent at £105.9m in the year to March. It owns the brand everywhere except in the Americas, where it is held by US pharmaceuticals group, Merck.

Analysts note that SSL also has some smaller brands such as baby products manufacturer Mister Baby, which could be offloaded by Reckitt.

SSL's shares closed up 33 per cent after the announcement, suggesting that investors expect a counterbid. Possible rival bidders include Merck, Johnson & Johnson and P&G.