Unilever closed 2015 with a headline-making prestige skincare acquisition spree, grabbing Dermalogica, Kate Sommerville, Murad, and Ren. The buying spree continued in 2016 with the Dollar Shave Club and Seventh Generation. Drugstore brands like TRESemmé, Suave, Dove, and Clear, and salon labels Nexxus and TIGI are all currently in the Unilever portfolio. The Living Proof acquisition marks the company’s first prestige hair-care acquisition.
WHO: Founded in 2005, Living Proof was conceived by venture capitalist and entrepreneur Jon Flint to bring advanced biomedical technology to the beauty industry. Together with MIT professor Robert Langer, they assembled a team of world-class biomedical scientists and industry-leading hair stylists to create a comprehensive portfolio of hair products. The company staffs professors and scientists and holds 20 patents for chemical technologies included in its shampoo and other hair-care products. The problem-solution hair-care line sold across salon, prestige, and mass distribution channels.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Unilever’s Alan Jope, President, Personal Care, said, “We are delighted to be adding Living Proof to our portfolio of Prestige brands. The Prestige Hair retail market is very attractive and offers significant potential for growth. Through compelling product result demonstrations and influencer-driven marketing, Living Proof is already a successful business in this space, and we look forward to further developing and growing this wonderful brand.”
- According to WWD, Unilever has purchased a 100 percent stake in Living Proof.
- Living Proof will be part of Unilever’s Prestige portfolio, which includes brands such as Dermalogica, Kate Somerville, Murad, and REN.
- Industry sources estimate Living Proof’s overall net sales to be $60 to $75 million and believe could have sold for about $200 million.
- In 2012 Jennifer Aniston was brought in as a co-owner and spokesperson. WWD reported she would no longer be affiliated with the brand.
- The business raised $53 million in funding to date from three investors: Leerink Partners, Piper Jaffray, and Polaris Partners.
- In 2008, Polaris Partners contributed to a $7 million Series A funding.
- In 2011, Piper Jaffray and Polaris Partners contributed to a $16 million Series B funding.
- In 2013, Leerink Partners contributed to a $30 million Series C funding.
- The acquisition is expected to close in Q1 2017, subject to customary regulatory approvals.
- Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Read the full release on the Unilever website.
Photo: Living Proof