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Unilever To Buy Dollar Shave In Deal Valued At $1 Billion

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Unilever agreed to buy Dollar Shave Club LLC, in a deal said to be worth about $1 billion, giving it a piece of the fast-growing business of selling grooming products online by subscription.

The Anglo-Dutch consumer-products maker is expected to close the deal, subject to regulatory approval, in the third quarter, Unilever said in a statement, without disclosing terms. The company will pay cash, said people familiar with the terms, who asked not be identified, as the valuation hasn’t been disclosed. Merlin Koene, a spokesman for Unilever, declined to comment.

Unilever, which got about 17% of revenue from North America last year, will gain a subscription model that Dollar Shave Club is using to take on brands such as Procter & Gamble Co.’s Gillette and Edgewell Personal Care Co.’s Schick in the estimated $3-billion US men’s shaving-products market. The acquisition would be Unilever’s biggest since the more-than-$3-billion deal to raise its majority holding in its Indian affiliate, Hindustan Unilever Ltd in 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

At the $1-billion price, Unilever is paying five times Dollar Shave Club’s projected revenue for this year.

Venice, California-based Dollar Shave Club has used advertising making fun of the high price and technical development of razor blades to boost sales, which the company forecasts at $200 million this year, up from $4 million in 2012. Representatives for Dollar Shave Club could not be reached outside California office hours.

Dollar Shave Club has 3.2 million members, according to the statement. The company sells razors for as little as $1 a month, as well as shaving supplies. It recently expanded its product line into haircare, offering pomade and hair cream, which has made a comeback with young male consumers.

Global sales of men’s grooming products is expected to grow 3% annually through 2020. E-commerce will be a key driver of personal-care sales, as online demand strengthens, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Deborah Aitken.

Michael Dubin, Dollar Shave Club founder and chief executive officer, will continue in the role, according to the statement.

News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.

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