Unilever and Alberto Culver keep comms separate

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, NJ: Unilever will keep communication efforts separate from Alberto Culver until its acquisition of the beauty company nears.

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, NJ: Unilever will keep communication efforts separate from Alberto Culver until its acquisition of the beauty company nears.

Dan Stone, VP of corporate communications for Alberto Culver, said it's premature to discuss the structural impact of the acquisition, and its communications team is not working closely with that of Unilever, especially since "the company is still a competitor with Unilever" until the close.

"We're not sharing a huge amount of information on people and marketing plans with the company we're competing with day in and day out," he said. "When it's closer in site, we'll be doing that, but it's hard to say [when that will be]."

Anita Larsen, director of media relations for Unilever US, said it's premature to discuss how the move will impact the marketing staff or structure, as completion of the process is pending regulatory approval and shareholder approval at Alberto Culver, as well as other customary closure procedures.

Stone said that the close could take more than a year based on the length of time it's taking Unilever to complete its acquisition of a number of Sara Lee brands.

Unilever's Personal Care portfolio includes Dove, Suave, Ponds, and Vaseline, among others, and Alberto Culver brands include TRESemme, Alberto VO5, Nexxus, St. Ives, Simple, and Noxzema. 

Unilever is working with Brunswick Group's London office, its corporate communications agency on retainer, on communications surrounding the announcement, and Alberto Culver is working with Edelman Chicago.

Edelman, the agency that Alberto Culver has “worked with on a variety of IR situations,” explained Stone, also handles PR for a number of Unilever's personal care brands, such as Dove and Axe.

The Unilever team is working on “extensive employee communications” via its Intranet, as well as external communication via its webpage and Twitter account. It first tweeted the news from its Rotterdam office, noted Larsen.

Larsen said that the deal has no impact on Unilever's completion of the US marketing staff integration into the Englewood Cliffs, NJ headquarters.

“Alberto Culver gives us a stronger competitive position in hair care, particularly in North America, UK, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand,” she added. “The combined portfolio gives Unilever a more complete and well-differentiated set of consumer offerings.”

Unilever currently works with Edelman, Golin Harris, Weber Shandwick, Ogilvy PR, and M Booth & Associates.

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