US eco-friendly cleaning business Seventh Generation, owned by the Hollender family, has been snapped up by Dutch rival Unilever for an undisclosed sum.
The Vermont-based company, which produces sustainable, chlorine-free cleaning and toiletry products, was acquired as part of a drive by Unilever as it looks to increase its portfolio of natural products.
The acquisition reflects a global surge in interest in environmentally friendly cleaning products wherein consumers are increasingly likely to pay more for products which do not damage their surroundings.
“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.
“Seventh Generation has long been a disruptor in the US marketplace, leading the industry in sustainable innovation while attracting new generations of conscious consumers.”
While the terms of the deal were not revealed, Unilever said Seventh Generation brought in more than $200 million in revenue last year.
The acquisition came amid speculation Unilever, the world's third-largest consumer goods company, was in talks to acquire Honest Company, the non-toxic consumer-products retailer co-founded by actress Jessica Alba.
The acquisition of Seventh Generation raised the question of whether the Honest Company deal will be affected. At the very least it points to Unilever's interest in the natural products sector.
Seventh Generation was co-founded by Jeffrey Hollender in 1989. After being unceremoniously removed from the board of directors in 2011, the 61-year-old co-founded eco condom manufacturer Sustain Natural with his daughter Meika.