Unilever makes £2.3bn swoop on personal care brands

Simple: Unilever makes bid for parent company Alberto Culver
Simple: Unilever makes bid for parent company Alberto Culver

Unilever is to buy Alberto Culver, the owner of personal care brands including Tresemmé and Simple, for $3.7bn (£2.3bn) in cash.

Unilever claims the acquisition will make it the world leader in hair conditioning, the second-largest global company in shampoo, and the third-largest in styling.

In the UK, the company claims the addition of brands such as VO5, Tresemmé and Simple will enable it to cover more price points across more categories.

Paul Polman, chief executive of Unilever, said: "We are delighted to be acquiring Alberto Culver. Their people have done an excellent job of building an impressive range of brands such as Tresemmé, VO5, Nexxus, St Ives and Simple.

"These will complement Unilever's existing portfolio of iconic brands like Dove, Clear and Sunsilk in hair care and Pond's and Vaseline in skin care, and will help build on our strong global positions in hair care and skin care categories."

Last year Unilever agreed to acquire the personal care division of Sara Lee for €1.28bn, but has not yet completed the deal due to regulatory hurdles in Europe. The Sara Lee division owns brands including Brylcreem, Sanex and Carex.

Alberto Culver's headquarters are in Illinois in the US. Its UK office is based in Basingstoke. It was founded in 1955 around the haircare brand Alberto VO5 and has grown into a global company that generated sales of $1.6bn and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of more than $250m in the 12 months to 30 June 2010.

It acquired Simple, which started life in the UK, in a £240m deal in December 2009.

It has reviewed its global creative and media agency relationships this year. It divided creative duties between Havas-owned Arnold and Interpublic agency Mullen in June. The next month it split its media buying and planning account between WPP's Maxus and Aegis' Carat; the former taking the US business and the latter retaining the European business and adding Canada and Mexico.

In addition to its personal care brands Alberto Culver owns a handful of food and household care brands not alluded to in Unilever's press statement this morning. They include sweetener brand SugarTwin, no-stick baking spray Baker's Joy, Mrs Dash Salt-Free Seasoning Blends, and anti-static spray Static Guard.

The acquisition is subject to the approval of regulators and Alberto Culver shareholders.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer
Mumsnet admits users' emails and passwords accessed via Heartbleed bug