Unilever last week announced that it has reached an agreement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) that will complete its proposed acquisition of the Alberto Culver Company. Subject to customary closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to close on or about May 10, 2011.
Paul Polman, Unilever CEO said, "We are very pleased to have received the regulatory clearances necessary for us to complete the acquisition. This acquisition is a further step in Unilever's transformation. 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."
The Alberto Culver deal is the latest in a series of acquisitions that includes the home and personal care products of Sara Lee in 2010, the premium hair-care company TIGI in 2009 and ice cream businesses in Russia, Greece and Denmark. These acquisitions are improving the mix of the company's portfolio towards higher growth areas in developed markets and filling in category gaps in fast-growing developing and emerging markets.
With the acquisition Unilever becomes 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 iconic brands like Dove, Clear, Suave, TIGI (Bed Head, Catwalk and S-Factor) and Sunsilk in hair care and Pond's and Vaseline in skin. The acquisition also significantly enhances Unilever's hair care position in the US, Canada, the UK, Mexico and Australasia - all of which will be significant hair care markets for years to come.
Under the terms of the agreement with the US DOJ, Unilever will divest the Alberto VO5 brand in the United States from the Alberto Culver portfolio and the Rave brand from the Unilever portfolio. Upon completing the transaction, Unilever will continue to advance the growth potential of the Alberto VO5 brand in markets outside the United States, such as the UK, South Africa, and Australasia, where the brand has a strong consumer base.
The Alberto Culver transaction remains subject to regulatory approval in the United Kingdom, Argentina, Honduras, El Salvador and the Isle of Jersey. As such, the relevant businesses will remain competitors in these jurisdictions until the acquisition has been approved by the respective local authorities, which are expected in due course.