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Unilever, the company behind Axe men’s grooming products and Dove soap, is in talks to acquire Honest significantly below its $1.7 billion valuation that was set during a fundraising round last year, sources familiar with the matter told the WSJ. Takeover talks are at an early stage and Honest could still rule out a deal and go ahead with an IPO.
Alba co-founded Honest Co. in 2012 following a desire to create “a trustworthy lifestyle brand that touched everything in your home, that was nontoxic and affordable and convenient to get.”
Besides Alba, equity stakeholders in Honest include General Catalyst Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Fidelity Management & Research and Wellington Management.
If Honest is sold, it has pledged to pay some investors double their investment, according to the WSJ.
Honest sells an array of products from brightly patterned diapers to household cleaners to hand sanitizers all aimed at young mothers. The company, headquartered in Santa Monica, has more than 200 employees and sells its wares online through subscriptions and in retail chains including Nordstrom, Target and Whole Foods. Honest generates about $300 million in sales each year.
Unilever is looking to tap further into the market for the sort of “natural” products Honest is famous for.
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