Health and Beauty

Sara Lee Body Care Unilever

Unilever to Buy Alberto Culver for $3.7 Billion

Mr. Polman’s background in household products may explain what one analyst called a “rebalancing of the company” away from food, where Unilever now derives half its revenue.

Martin Deboo, an analyst at Investec Securities in London, said that while Unilever likes to say it “owns the supermarket,” its presence in several aisles has, until now, been weak.

The Alberto Culver deal, however, will make it the top company in hair conditioning and put it in the top three for shampoo and styling products, Unilever said.

Alberto Culver had annual sales of $1.6 billion for the year ended in June. That means Unilever paid 2.3 times sales for the company, higher than the 1.7 that it agreed to pay for the Sara Lee unit, a company spokesman, Paul Matthews, said.