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Flash Report

Unilever Expands Home Care Portfolio with the Acquisition of The Laundress

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Coresight Research

Key Points

On January 28, 2019, Unilever announced it had acquired The Laundress, a premium detergent and fabric care company headquartered in New York.

  • Unilever said The Laundress will continue to operate from its New York City headquarters and that the founders will remain in place to lead the business and to operate the brand’s flagship store in New York.
  • The global home care market is a highly competitive space and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.8% in the five years to 2024, according to market intelligence firm Mordor Insights.
  • Unilever described the acquisition of The Laundress as a “strong addition” to its portfolio of products.

On January 28, Unilever announced it had acquired The Laundress, a premium detergent and fabric care company headquartered in New York. The Laundress was founded in 2004 by Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd after two years of research yielded a non-toxic line of laundry and home cleaning products. The portfolio now includes over 85 eco-friendly products.

Unilever said The Laundress will continue to operate from its New York City headquarters and that the two founders will remain in place to lead the business and operate the brand’s flagship store in New York.

Unilever: The Lead Up to The Laundress Acquisition

The global home care market is a highly competitive space and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.8% in the five years to 2024, according to market intelligence firm Mordor Insights.

Eco-friendly home care products have gained ground in recent years and Unilever continues to face competition from rivals such as Procter & Gamble and the Reckitt Benckiser Group. In the past two years, Unilever has undertaken the following initiatives to gain ground in the home care market.

Source: Company Website/Coresight Research

Unilever described the acquisition of The Laundress as a “strong addition” to its portfolio of products. The acquisition is aligned with Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan—an initiative to promote the use of sustainable and eco-friendly products and reduce the company’s environmental impact.

Unilever: Expansion through Mergers and Acquisitions

Unilever has undertaken mergers and acquisitions to make quick inroads into new consumer segments. These are some key mergers and acquisitions:

Source: S&P Capital IQ/company press releases/Coresight Research

What We Think

In our opinion, the acquisition will help boost Unilever’s image as a sustainable FMCG company and expand its home care products business which already contributes nearly 20% of the company’s revenues. The Laundress’ existing distribution network across specialty retailers, direct-to-consumer and e-commerce combined with Unilever’s global reach will help both firms gain share in the green home care products market.

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