Unilever unveils £2.3bn toiletries deal

Unilever unveils £2.3bn toiletries deal

Consumer goods giant Unilever today unveiled a deal worth £2.3bn (€2.7bn) to add VO5 shampoo and Simple soap to its line-up of hair and skincare products.

Unilever, which already owns brands such as Dove, Sunsilk, Pond’s and Vaseline, said the proposed acquisition of Alberto Culver would make it the world’s leading company in hair conditioning and second largest in shampoo.

Other products in the Alberto Culver portfolio include hair care brands TRESemme, Nexxus and St Ives. The business began life as a one-product company in 1955 and its founder Leonard Lavin continues to be a director, while his family are also key shareholders in the Illinois-based firm.

The business, which has operations in nine countries and employs around 2,700 people, generated sales of $1.6bn (€1.2bn) in the year to the end of June.

Unilever chief executive Paul Polman said the acquisition added some “powerful” new brands to the company’s portfolio.

He added that the addition of VO5, TRESemme and Simple would enable its UK business to cover more price points across a number of categories.

Unilever’s other brands include Knorr, Hellmann’s and Flora, while in September last year it added bath products Sanex and Radox following a deal worth £1.15bn (€1.4bn) with US-based firm Sara Lee.

Today’s acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and the backing of Alberto Culver shareholders.

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