Unilever to Acquire Bain Capital-backed Sundial Brands

11/27/17

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Unilever today announced an agreement to acquire Sundial Brands, a New York-based personal care products company.

Sundial Brands is a leading haircare and skincare company recognized for its innovative use of high-quality and culturally authentic ingredients. Sundial’s brands include SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage, Madam C.J. Walker and nyakio™. Since its founding in 1991, Sundial has championed inclusive beauty and has served the unmet needs of consumers of color through its robust innovation pipeline, product offerings and purpose-driven business model. Through its Community Commerce business model, B Corp and Fair for Life certifications, Sundial’s approach complements the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) to accelerate growth while increasing positive social impact.

Sundial Brands will operate as a standalone unit within Unilever. Sundial’s founder, Richelieu Dennis, will continue to lead the business as CEO and Executive Chairman.

As part of the agreement, Unilever and Sundial are creating the New Voices Fund with an unprecedented initial investment of US$50 million to empower women of color entrepreneurs. The intention is to scale the Fund to US$100 million by attracting investments from other interested parties.

“The Sundial team has built differentiated and on-trend premium brands serving multicultural and millennial consumers that enhance our existing portfolio,” said Kees Kruythoff, President, Unilever North America. “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,” said Alan Jope, President, 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.”

Additionally, Unilever has appointed Esi Eggleston Bracey, a seasoned executive with a strong track record of business leadership in driving cultural relevancy in brand building, as EVP & COO of Unilever North America Personal Care, effective January 1, 2018. As a part of her role, Bracey will work closely with 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,” said Richelieu Dennis, founder and CEO, Sundial Brands. “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.” Dennis added: “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 US$240 million.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Subject to regulatory approval, the transaction is expected to close in quarter one 2018.

About Unilever North America:

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home Care, Personal Care and Refreshment products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2.5 billion consumers a day. In the United States and Canada, the portfolio includes brand icons such as: Axe, Becel, Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Caress, Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy, Country Crock, Degree, Dollar Shave Club, Dove, Fruttare, Good Humor, Hellmann’s, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!, Klondike, Knorr, Lever 2000, Lipton, Magnum, Nexxus, Noxzema, PG Tips, Pond’s, Popsicle, Promise, Pukka, Pure Leaf, Q-tips, Seventh Generation, Simple, Sir Kensington’s, St. Ives, Suave, T2, Talenti Gelato & Sorbetto, TIGI, TRESemmé and Vaseline. All of the preceding brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of Companies.

Unilever employs more than 9,000 people across North America – generating more than $10 billion in sales in 2016.

The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan commits to:

  • Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.
  • Halving the environmental impact of our products by 2030.
  • Enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.


The USLP creates value by driving growth and trust, eliminating costs and reducing risks. The company’s sustainable living brands are growing 50% faster than the rest of the business and delivered more than 60% of the company’s growth in 2016.

Unilever was ranked number one in its sector in the 2017 Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In the FTSE4Good Index, it achieved the highest environmental score of 5. It led the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the 2017 GlobeScan/Sustainability annual survey for the seventh year running. Unilever has pledged to become carbon positive in its operations by 2030.

For more information on Unilever U.S. and its brands visit: www.unileverusa.com
For more information on Unilever Canada and its brands visit:www.unilever.ca

About Sundial Brands:

Sundial Brands, a leading skincare and haircare manufacturer renowned for its innovative use of high-quality and culturally authentic natural ingredients, is the maker of SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage, Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture and nyakio™. A certified B Corp company with a Fair for Life social and fair trade certification, Sundial engages in ethical and cruelty-free business practices and manufactures its products at its state-of-the-art facilities in Long Island, NY. Through its Community Commerce purpose-driven business model, the company creates opportunities for sustainable social and economic empowerment throughout its supply chain and communities in the United States and Africa, focusing on entrepreneurship, women's empowerment, education and wellness. In 2015, Sundial was named to the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States and received the WWD/Beauty Inc. award for "Corporate Social Responsibility Company of the Year." Widely credited with introducing the "New General Market" inclusion concept to the beauty and retail industries, Sundial Brands founder and CEO Richelieu Dennis began the company in 1991 with his college roommate, Nyema Tubman, and mother, Mary Dennis.

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