Unilever expands personal care portfolio with Sundial Brands acquisition


Unilever has announced plans to acquire Amityville, New York-based personal care products company Sundial Brands.

Sundial Brands' portfolio includes the brands SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage, Madam C.J. Walker and nyakio. As part of the deal, the company will operate as a standalone unit, with founder Richelieu Dennis continuing to lead as CEO and executive chairman.

“The Sundial team has built differentiated and on-trend premium brands serving multicultural and millennial consumers that enhance our existing portfolio,” Kees Kruythoff, president, Unilever North America, said. “Sundial is an important addition to our U.S. portfolio of purpose-driven companies, which includes Ben & Jerry’s and Seventh Generation.”

Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey-based Unilever and Sundial Brands also will create the New Voices Fund with an initial investment of $50 million as part of the deal. This joint venture will look to empower women of color entrepreneurs and is intended to scale to $100 million by attracting other interested parties, the companies said. It builds Sundial Brands’ efforts to build social change as it scales its business, which included a  Community Commerce business model, Unilever said, noting that Sundial complements the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) to accelerate growth while increasing positive social impact.

Alongside the acquisition, Unilever also appointed Essi Eggleston Bracey, a seasoned executive with experience in driving cultural relevancy in brand building as EVP and COO of Unilever North America Personal Care effective January 2018. Unilever said Bracey will work alongside Sundial’s Dennis to further accelerate the growth, purpose-driven mission and consumer connectivity of Sundial Brands.

“I’ve always wanted Sundial Brands to be an inspiration to other minority-owned companies of how a business against all odds can achieve excellence, have significant social impact in our communities and be successful on a world stage,” Dennis said. “I am excited Sundial and Unilever have created this partnership, rooted in a purpose-driven ethos, that represents an incredible opportunity to take our community commerce economic empowerment and impact model to another level. I’ve enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Esi and look forward to working with her to continue to change the game in beauty, personal care and community building.”

Sundial’s 2017 turnover is expected to be approximately $240 million, other details of the transaction were not disclosed.