Unilever buys Alberto Culver

Unilever is to buy Alberto Culver,
the US-based consumer goods company, for $3.7 billion  in a deal that will bring brands such as
TRESemmé and VO5 into the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate’s stable of hair care and
skincare products.

“We are delighted to be
acquiring Alberto Culver,” Paul Polman, Unilever chief executive, said.

“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 skincare, and will help build on our strong global positions in
both the hair care and skin care categories.”

For the 12 months to June, Alberto
Culver made revenues of $1.6 billion and earnings before interest, tax,
depreciation and amortization of more than $250 million. The all-cash deal
includes $150 million of Alberto Culver’s debt.

Alberto Culver group employs 2,700
people and has operations in nine countries, including the US, Canada, the UK,
Argentina, Mexico and South Africa.

While it produces products such as
low-sodium food dressings and baking sprays, the acquisition is most
significant for adding further weight to Unilever’s operations in so-called
“personal care” products such as skincare, hair care and body wash.

Personal care is the fastest-growing
category for global consumer goods companies, especially in emerging markets,
and the Alberto Culver acquisition will allow Unilever to have more products
across a broader range of price points.