Dollar Shave Club gets acquired by Unilever

Steven Loeb · July 19, 2016 · Short URL:

The deal is said to be worth $1 billion; Dollar Shave Club will remain an independent brand

Updated with comment from Woody Marshall

On-demand men's grooming supply service Dollar Shave Club is a company whose mission has been to revolutionize a laggard industry. Not in terms of the technology, but in how it is sold, getting rid of what Michael Dubin, founder and CEO of Dollar Shave Club, has called "superfluous technological advancements" and by appealing to a younger audience through humerous videos.

The company always seemed to play up its outsider status, poking fun as the big guys it was taking on. 

Now Dollar Shave Club is becoming part of the establishment, and it will be interesting to watch how much of the brand, and personality, of the company is retained going forward.

On Tuesday, Unilever announced that it has signed an agreement to purchase Dollar Shave Club. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed, but sources told Fortune that the price was $1 billion in cash. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. 

Unilever is a supplier of food, home and personal care products, with more than 400 brands under its belt, including Persil, Dove, Knorr, Domestos, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Wall’s, PG Tips, Ben & Jerry’s, Marmite, Magnum and Lynx.

The company said it bought Dollar Shave Club to add "a unique male grooming perspective" to its personal care category.

“Dollar Shave Club is an innovative and disruptive male grooming brand with incredibly deep connections to its diverse and highly engaged consumers,” Kees Kruythoff, President of Unilever North America, said in a statement.

“In addition to its unique consumer and data insights, Dollar Shave Club is the category leader in its direct-to-consumer space. We plan to leverage the global strength of Unilever to support Dollar Shave Club in achieving its full potential in terms of offering and reach.”

It sounds like Dollar Shave Club will remain an independent brand under the Unilever umbrella, as Dubin will remain in his current position as CEO of the company.

Dollar Shave Club became famous for its series of ads, viral videos starring Dubin, that made fun of the established players, including Gilette and Schick. Dollar Shave hit a nerve, and the success of the videos, and the company, reflect that the company had tapped into an existing narrative among its customer base. 

As Dubin himself put it, what Dollar Shave Club did is was create videos that help its customers "have a conversation that they're already having with each other. Guys talk about how ridiculous it is to buy razors in a store, all we do is give them a funny thing to look at that told the story they were already having with each other."

"Michael Dubin and his team have built a great brand and category leader in the e-commerce space. We've been fortunate to partner with DSC for many years and have helped the company grow its network of advisors, experts and staff," Woody Marshall, General Partner at Technology Crossover Ventures, and Board member of Dollar Shave Club, told VatorNews.

"We are excited about DSC joining the Unilever family and the opportunities ahead. The deal represents one of the largest e-commerce transaction of all time. We look forward to seeing DSC grow and fulfill their robust roadmap."

Now that it is becoming part of Uniliver the company will have a lot more resources behind it, and it will soon become a global brand. Whether or not we see a new, and possibly more mature, Dollar Shave Club, going forward, remains to be seen. 

Founded in 2012, the company has 3.2 million members. In 2015, Dollar Shave Club had turnover of $152 million and is on track to exceed $200 million in turnover in 2016. The company has raised $163.5 million in venture funding, from investors that included Venrock, TCV Forerunner Ventures and Dragoneer.

Unilever would not comment beyond the press release. VatorNews reached out to Dollar Shave Club for more information, and we will update this story if we learn more. 

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Founder and CEO ­ Dollar Shave Club Michael Dubin is a passionate, creative executive & trailblazing brand­builder.