Unilever, the maker of Dove soap and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, is acquiring Sundial Brands to expand its offering of hair- and skin care products aimed at African American women.
New York-based Sundial, founded in 1991 by Liberian immigrants, makes brands such as SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage, Madam C.J. Walker and Nyakio. While terms of the transaction were not disclosed, Sundial Brands expects revenue this year of about $240 million, Unilever said in a statement.
The takeover follows Unilever’s investment earlier in 2017 in Beauty Bakerie, a cosmetics maker based in San Diego that’s backed by Lazard Managing Director William Lewis and American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault.
Businesses such as Sundial Brands and Beauty Bakerie have garnered a following among young Africans, African-American, whose spending power is being increasingly targeted by consumer giants. L’Oreal, for example, has built a hair care research center in Johannesburg to increase sales on the African continent. Earlier in 2017, French luxury-goods maker LVMH beat estimates for third-quarter sales in part on the strength of Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, a new makeup line developed with the Barbadian pop singer.
As part of the agreement, Unilever and Sundial are creating the New Voices Fund with an initial investment of $50 million to “empower women of color entrepreneurs.”
Sundial will operate as a standalone business and continue to be led by CEO Richelieu Dennis, Unilever said.