Unilever is selling direct-to-consumer razor retailer Dollar Shave Club, the retailer announced. It first acquired Dollar Shave Club for a reported $1 billion in 2016.
U.S.-based private equity firm Nexus Capital Management will acquire 65% stake in Dollar Shave Club for an undisclosed price, while Unilever will retain the remaining 35%.
Dollar Shave Club is part of the minority of health and beauty retailers in the Top 1000 primarily targeting men.
Unilever’s history with Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club launched in 2012 to immediate attention with a viral online marketing campaign. The retailer’s business was based on selling razors at a lower price than legacy competitors. It eventually expanded to include other shaving products.
At the time of the original acquisition, Unilever targeted Dollar Shave Club for its strong growth in the direct-to-consumer category.
“We plan to leverage the global strength of Unilever to support Dollar Shave Club in achieving its full potential in terms of offering and reach,” Kees Kruythoff, president of Unilever North America, said in 2016.
However, Dollar Shave Club wasn’t necessarily a fit with Unilever, the U.K.-based consumer brand manufacturer that also owns Ben & Jerry’s, Dove, Hellman’s, and a variety of other brands across health and beauty, home, and food. Unilever ranks No. 6 in the Europe Database, Digital Commerce 360’s ranking of the largest online retailers in Europe.
Dollar Shave Club is an example of “unsuccessful attempts to move away from our core,” Unilever CEO Hein Schumacher said in an Oct. 26 call with investors. Schumacher also cited some other acquisitions that were better fits, including skin care brand Paula’s Choice and Liquid I.V. Additionally, the retailer plans to sell off some other acquisitions as it continues to adjust its portfolio.
“There is more pruning to be done,” Schumacher said.
Dollar Shave Club going forward
The sale is expected to close by the end of 2023.
“We are thrilled to acquire Dollar Shave Club, based on its strong brand loyalty, pioneering DTC model, and omnichannel presence. We see growth potential and will invest in cutting-edge marketing, product quality and new innovations,” says Michael Cohen, Partner at Nexus Capital Management. “Dollar Shave Club will also serve as a platform for additional brands with a similar DNA. We are excited to work with Dollar Shave Club employees to drive accelerated growth and welcome Unilever’s continued partnership,” he said.
Dollar Shave Club has a seven-figure subscriber base, the retailer said in an October press release.
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