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FRANKFURT, GERMANY - Henkel, the German conglomerate, said on Monday it will pay $2.9 billion in cash for Arizona-based Dial Corp. in a move which investors say allows it to gain access to the U.S. group's growing relationship with Wal-Mart.
Henkel, best known for its Persil detergent brand, has been pursuing acquisitions after losing out to P&G earlier this year in the battle to acquire Wella, the German haircare products group.
The planned purchase will add Dial's 2002 sales of $1.3 billion to Henkel.
Dial, makers of Dial soap and Purex detergent, has reportedly been shopped around by its c.e.o. Herb Baum, who is credited by analysts with turning around the ailing company during his three years at the helm.
"The planned acquisition of Dial is very important for us and will greatly reinforce our branded products business in North America," said Ulrich Lehner, Henkel's c.e.o., who also said the company plans to divest "a significant portion" of its holdings in two U.S. cleaning products groups, Clorox and Ecolab, to finance the purchase and retain its A credit rating.