Today, Unilever announced an agreement to acquire Sundial Brands, (No. 10 on the 2017 BE Top 100 list with $300 million in revenues) behind brands including SheaMoisture and Nubian Heritage. The news makes Sundial yet another black-owned personal care company that has decided to diversify its ownership ranks and take advantage of the financial advancement and expansion that a general-market acquisition can afford.
When the deal is complete, Sundial Brands, which is expected to generate approximately $240 million in revenue this year, will operate as a standalone unit within Unilever, and its founder, Richelieu Dennis, will continue to lead as CEO and executive chairman.
As part of the agreement, Unilever, a transnational consumer goods company co-headquartered in the Netherlands and London, and Sundial are creating the New Voices Fund with an initial investment of $50 million to empower minority women entrepreneurs.
“The Sundial team has built differentiated and on-trend premium brands serving multicultural and millennial consumers that enhance our existing portfolio,” Kees Kruythoff, president at Unilever North America, said in a statement. “Sundial is an important addition to our U.S. portfolio of purpose-driven companies, which includes Ben & Jerry’s and Seventh Generation.”
“We are excited to partner with Richelieu and his team to enable Sundial to bring its unique product offerings and community impact to more people around the world,” added Alan Jope, president of Unilever Personal Care. “We look forward to continuing to grow the business and make an even bigger impact on society through Sundial’s community programs.”
Esi Eggleston Bracey, who has an impressive executive résumé that includes working for companies including Procter & Gamble, will serve as EVP and COO of Unilever North America Personal Care, beginning Jan. 1, and she will work closely with Dennis to strategize brand growth, strengthen the mission, and advocate for consumer connectivity.
“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,” said Richelieu Dennis in a statement. “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.”
At Unilever, Sundial joins other personal care and hygiene brands including Dove, Vaseline, and Caress.