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Who Should Unilever Buy Next?

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Unilever's H1 2016 personal care results were boosted by deodorant, male grooming and hair care.

This year, Unilever has boosted its prestige beauty holdings with its acquisition of Living Proof, enhanced its natural product expertise by purchasing Seventh Generation and created a strong foothold in male grooming by buying Dollar Shave Club. Oh, and rumors persist regarding a potential Honest Beauty acquisition.

“Unilever chose not to disregard the dynamic prospects in categories such as premium skin care and men's toiletries, in particular, the [United States] (both at over 4% CAGR over 2015-2020)," said Nicholas Micallef, senior beauty and personal care analyst, Euromonitor International. "Driven by higher disposable incomes and correspondingly higher-priced products, niche labels are among the key drivers."

Unilever's activity this year was aligned with a busy M&A environment in beauty and personal care. The question now is: who will Unilever buy next?

Micallef argued that Unilever could expand into specialized makeup via its Kate Somerville brand, which has a "Californian image and dermocosmetic positioning," but suggested it could also acquire Charlotte Tilbury.

The UK-based brand had 2015 sales of $5 million and has launched its own stores and forged a presence in luxury retail spaces such as Harrods. Charlotte Tilbury has also expanded internationally.

Micallef concluded, "These potential ventures would grant the company a fast-track entry into the category, while consolidating its premium portfolio.”

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