Unilever buys Dollar Shave Club for estimated $1bn

Conglomerate buys shaving subscription start-up for estimated $1bn

Unilever has signed a deal to purchase Dollar Shave Club. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it is estimated that Unilever paid around $1bn for the start-up.

Founded in 2012, Dollar Shave Club offers a subscription service for disposable razor blades, starting from as little as $1 each. The Californian brand has become a promising business in recent years, boasting 3.2 million members and a turnover of $152m in 2015, expected to rise to $200m in 2016.

Dollar Shave Club is known for its innovative model and clever marketing. An advert (below) shared online shortly after the company’s launch in 2012, has been viewed more than 20 million times and helped to rapidly boost the club’s subscriber base. The group recently expanded into skin care and hair care products and now offers its service in the US, Australia and Canada. However, still fairly fresh from its launch, it has yet to report a profit.

Unilever is expected to now uses its financial and geographic backing to take the brand further. Kees Kruythoff, President of Unilever in North America, said in a release: “Dollar Shave Club is an innovative and disruptive male grooming brand with incredibly deep connections to its diverse and highly engaged consumers.” Kruythoff said that Unilever will help Dollar Shave Club meet its “full potential”.

Founder Michael Dubin is expected to stay in place as Chief Executive after the purchase. He said: "DSC couldn't be happier to have the world's most innovative and progressive consumer-product company in our corner. We have long admired Unilever's purpose-driven business leadership and its category expertise is unmatched. We are excited to be part of the family.”

Dollar Shave Club remains involved in a lawsuit with P&G-owned brand Gillette, which claims that the start-up is infringing on one of its patents. Gillette has also launched a rival razor subscription service.

Companies