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    Unilever Acquiring Alberto Culver

    The conglomerate aims to bolster category positions in hair and skin care.

    Unilever has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Alberto Culver Co. for $3.7 billion in cash. Melrose Park, Ill.-based Alberto Culver manufactures such well-known hair and skin care brands as TRESemmé, VO5, Nexxus, St. Ives and Simple, and is the second-largest U.S. producer of items for the ethnic hair care market, including the Motions and Soft & Beautiful product lines.

    According to Paul Polman, CEO of Rotterdam, Netherlands-based Unilever: “These [brands] will complement Unilever’s existing portfolio of iconic brands like Dove, Clear and Sunsilk in hair care and Pond’s and Vaseline in skin, and will help build on our strong global positions in both the hair care and skin care categories.”

    The deal will make Unilever the world’s leading company in hair conditioning, the second largest in shampoo and the third largest in styling, and will considerably boost its hair care presence in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Australasia. Additionally, the transaction will enable Unilever with to employ its scale, reach and technology to take Alberto Culver’s brands to a new level in existing markets, as well as introduce them to new emerging markets.

    “Personal care is a strategic category for Unilever, and growing rapidly,” noted Polman. “Ten years ago, it represented 20 percent of our turnover; strong organic growth has driven it to now reach over 30 percent, with strong positions in many of the emerging markets.”
    Added Polman: “Organic growth remains the cornerstone of our energizing ambition to double the size of Unilever whilst reducing our overall environmental impact. Bolt-on acquisitions such as Alberto Culver supplement organic growth and add powerful new brands to our portfolio.”

    Alberto Culver has operations in nine countries, among them the United States, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia. The company owns six manufacturing facilities and employs about 2,700 people.

    The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval, approval of Alberto Culver shareholders and other customary closing conditions.
     

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