Unilever buying personal care company focused on people of color

Unilever will soon add a hair and skin care company to its list of brands, and invest in entrepreneurial women of color.

The international company, with headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, has an agreement to acquire New York’s Sundial Brands, which includes SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage, Madam C.J. Walker and nyakio.

The 26-year-old company focuses on the needs of consumers of color. It will operate as a standalone unit within Unilever.

As part of the agreement, Unilever and Sundial are creating the New Voices Fund, which will invest $50 million to empower women of color entrepreneurs.

The goal is to reach $100 million in funding with help from investments and 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 Unilever North American President Kees Kruythoff. “Sundial is an important addition to our U.S. portfolio of purpose-driven companies, which includes Ben & Jerry’s and Seventh Generation.”

Sundial founder Richelieu Dennis will continue as executive chairman and CEO.

“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 Unilever President of Personal Care Alan Jope. “We look forward to continuing to grow the business and make an even bigger impact on society through Sundial’s community programs.”

Esi Eggleston Bracey was named executive vice president and chief operating officer of Unilever North America Personal Care, effective Jan. 1.

She will work closely with Dennis to 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,” Dennis said. “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 longstanding 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 about $240 million.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.