Richelieu Dennis' Sundial Brands is being acquired by Unilever, a British-Dutch transnational consumer goods company co-headquartered in Rotterdam, Netherlands and London, United Kingdom. Its products include Dove soap and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream
Sundial, founded in 1991 by Liberian immigrants, Richelieu Dennis, Mary Dennis and Nyema Tubman, makes brands such as SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage, Madam C.J. Walker and Nyakio.
Sundial Brands will operate as a standalone unit within Unilever. Sundial’s founder, Richelieu Dennis, will continue to lead the business as CEO and Executive Chairman.
“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,” said Richelieu Dennis, founder and CEO, Sundial Brands. “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 long-standing relationship with Esi and look forward to working with her to continue to change the game in beauty, personal care and community building.”
As part of the agreement, Unilever and Sundial are creating the New Voices Fund with an unprecedented initial investment of US$50 million to empower women of color entrepreneurs. The intention is to scale the Fund to US$100 million by attracting investments from other interested parties.
In 2015, Sundial was named to the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States and received the WWD/Beauty Inc. award for "Corporate Social Responsibility Company of the Year." Widely credited with introducing the "New General Market" inclusion concept to the beauty and retail industries.
Sundial’s 2017 turnover is expected to be approximately US$240 million.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Subject to regulatory approval, the transaction is expected to close in quarter one 2018.