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Jessica Alba's Honest Co. in acquisition talks with Unilever

Ed Adamczyk

Honest Company, a consumer goods retailer founded by actress Jessica Alba, seen here attending the Billboard Music Awards on May 22, 2016, is in acquisition talks with Unilever PLC, sources close to the negotiations say. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
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Unilever PLC is in talks to acquire Honest Company, the consumer products company founded by actress Jessica Alba, sources close to the negotiations said.
Unilever, a multinational consumer goods company headquartered in London, is offering a deal valued at over $1 billion, but less than the $1.7 billion valuation that California-based Honest Company was given during a search for funding in 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The sources said the talks are at an early stage, and that Honest could also attempt an initial public offering instead of a sale.
Honest sells disposable baby diapers, household cleaners with a reputation for "natural" and "green" ingredients, personal care and beauty items. The company has a loyal following among young mothers. Products are available through the company website and in stores including Target Corp. and Whole Foods Markets Inc. Unilever also sells consumer goods but does not compete with Honest in most product categories. Acquisition of Honest could give Unilever an entry point into environmentally responsible products, as well as additional insight into modern shopper behavior.
The deal, if it occurs, would follow a series of start-up companies sold to established retailers. Unilever purchased Dollar Shave Club in August for $1 billion; earlier this year Walmart Stores Inc. bought online retailer for $3.3 billion.

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