Unilever to buy US toiletry delivery start-up Dollar Shave Club for a reported $1 bn

Anglo-Dutch consumer products giant Unilever Plc, yesterday struck a deal to buy US e-commerce toiletry delivery start-up Dollar Shave Club LLC in a deal said to be worth about $1 billion.

Unilever, the maker of Dove soaps and Axe body sprays, did not reveal the financial terms, but several media reports suggested that Unilever is paying $1 billion in cash.

Dollar Shave founder and CEO Michael Dublin will continue to run the company after its acquisition, expected to be in the third quarter of 2016.

Founded in 2012 and based in Venice, California, Dollar Shave has grown into a complete male grooming business that has transformed the shaving sector with its lifestyle brand empowering 3.2 million members.

In 2015, the company had turnover of $152 million and is expected to have a turnover of over $200 million in 2016.

Its product and brand range extends far beyond shaving to include Wanderer men's personal wash products, Big Cloud men's skin care products, Boogies hair styling products, and One Wipe Charlies daily wipes.

Dollar Shave ships out its products to its 3.2 million members for a flat monthly fee.

''Dollar Shave Club is an innovative and disruptive male grooming brand with incredibly deep connections to its diverse and highly engaged consumers,'' said Kees Kruythoff, president of Unilever North America. ''In addition to its unique consumer and data insights, Dollar Shave Club is the category leader in its direct-to-consumer space.

Dollar Shave Club's direct-to-consumer business model gives Unilever ''unique consumer and data insights,'' he added.

Michael Dubin, said, ''DSC couldn't be happier to have the world's most innovative and progressive consumer-product company in our corner. We have long admired Unilever's purpose-driven business leadership and its category expertise is unmatched. We are excited to be part of the family.''
 
The deal will give the London-based company an entry into the US shaving market dominated by its rival Procter & Gamble (P&G), which owns the Gillette brand.

It has taken market share from Gillette and P&G, which has its own Gillette Shave Club last year filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Dollar Shave.