Seventh Generation Inc., the best-selling Vermont-based cleaning and personal care products company, has been purchased by Unilever for a reported $700 million.
Unilever is the European-based parent company to mainstream personal care brands including Suave, St. Ives, Dove, and Axe. It also owns another well-known Vermont-based business: Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
Unilever hopes the purchase will increase its natural presence and earn more market share among Millennial shoppers who are particularly invested in natural products.
“This addition to Unilever’s product portfolio will help us meet rising demand for high-quality products with a purpose,” Nitin Paranjpe, president of Unilever’s home-care division, said in a statement.
“The deal gives Unilever a foothold in the U.S. market for diapers and tampons in addition to detergents and hand soap, traditionally strongholds of rival Procter & Gamble Co,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
Unilever is reportedly also interested in purchasing Honest Co., the baby and personal care product line with a focus on clean and natural ingredients launched by actress Jessica Alba. If that happens alongside the Seventh Generation acquisition, it would give Unilever a significant market advantage in the natural cleaning and personal care industries.
"We know that Unilever is committed to Vermont and committed to keeping Seventh Generation in Vermont," Seventh Generation communications manager Brandi Thomas told Vermont Public Radio. "We also know that this acquisition is meant to help grow the company, so this means enabling more growth of our company."
Unilever is also the parent company to Hellmann’s, the best-selling brand of mayonnaise in the U.S. Unilever recently went after natural rival Hampton Creek for its eggless Just Mayo in a lawsuit claiming the company misused the word “mayo” because its formulation did not contain eggs. Unilever later dropped the lawsuit.
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