Unilever expands hair care business with Alberto-Culver acquisition

LONDON and ROTTERDAM, Netherlands Unilever is significantly boosting its hair care portfolio by acquiring Alberto-Culver for $3.7 billion in cash.

Alberto-Culver's TRESemme and Nexxus styling and conditioning brands will complement Unilever's Suave, Dove and Sunsilk. The deal makes Unilever the world's leading company in hair conditioning, the second-largest in shampoo and the third-largest in styling. It significantly enhances Unilever's hair care presence in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico and "Australasia," all of which will be significant hair care markets for years to come. In skin care, Alberto-Culver's portfolio also includes such brands as St. Ives and Simple.

The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to deliver significant synergies and, excluding restructuring costs, will be accretive to EPS in the first full year.

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

Alberto-Culver generated sales of nearly $1.6 billion and EBITDA of more than $250 million for the 12-month period ended June 30. It has operations in nine countries, six manufacturing facilities and employs roughly 2,700 people.

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