7. Unilever: Alberto Culver
In May, Unilever announced that it acquired Alberto Culver for $3.7 billion after receiving the necessary regulatory clearances. The company originally announced the acquisition in September 2010.
“This acquisition is a further step in Unilever’s transformation,” said CEO Paul Polman when the acquisition was completed. “The deal enhances Unilever’s presence in attractive, high-growth categories and brings a portfolio of desirable brands that are gaining share. It also gives Unilever the opportunity to use its scale, reach and technology to take Alberto Culver’s brands to a new level in existing markets, and enables us to use our unparalleled presence in emerging markets to extend them further.”
With the acquisition, Unilever became the world’s leading company in hair conditioning, the second largest in shampoo and the third largest in styling.
The acquisition of Alberto Culver brings together an impressive range of brands such as TRESemmé, Nexxus, Motions, St. Ives and Simple with Unilever’s existing portfolio of brands, including Dove, Clear, Suave, TIGI (Bed Head, Catwalk and S-Factor) and Sunsilk in hair care as well as Pond’s and Vaseline in skin care.
Under the terms of its agreement it announced with the U.S. Department of Justice, Unilever had to divest the Alberto VO5 brand in the United States from the Alberto Culver portfolio and the Rave brand from the Unilever portfolio. In August, the company announced that it completed the sale of Alberto VO5 in the United States and Puerto Rico and the Rave brand globally to the private-equity firm Brynwood Partners. Outside the United States and Puerto Rico, the Alberto VO5 brand remains in Unilever’s portfolio.
In January 2011, Brynwood Partners announced that it acquired the rights to the Zest bar soap and body wash brand from Procter & Gamble in the U.S., Canadian and Caribbean markets via its High Ridge Brands. That company is now selling Alberto VO5 in the United States and Puerto Rico and the Rave brand globally.