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August 24, 2011 7:10 PM

Cravath Advising as Unilever Sheds Hair Care Brands

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

British-Dutch consumer products giant Unilever has turned to Cravath, Swaine & Moore to sell off several hair care brands in keeping with conditions set forth by the U.S. Department of Justice when it approved the company's $3.7 billion acquisition of Alberto Culver in June.

Private equity firm Brynwood Partners VI L.P. agreed Wednesday to acquire the Alberto V05 shampoo brand in the United States and Puerto Rico, as well as the global Rave hairspray brand. Terms of the deal were undisclosed. Greenwich, Connecticut–based Brynwood Partners said it would acquire the brands through its portfolio company High Ridge Brands Co., which also holds the North American rights to the Zest soap brand.

The deal is expected to close by the end of August, and is subject to Justice Department approval.

Unilever made the deal for Melrose Park, Illinois-based Alberto Culver last September to gain a foothold in the fast-growing hair and skin care products industry, picking up brands like TRESemmé, St. Ives, and Nexxus, as we reported last fall. In May, Justice said the deal could only proceed if Unilever divested the hair care brands and rights that have now been sold to Brynwood.

Cravath is serving as lead M&A counsel to longtime client Unilever on the Alberto Culver deal, with a team led by international practice chair and corporate partner Mark Greene, along with Slaughter and May and Arnold & Porter. Greene, who spoke with The Am Law Daily after Unilever's 2008 divestment of its laundry brands business, is leading again on the Brynwood transaction joined by corporate associates D. Scott Bennett and Jeffrey Silver.

Cravath has represented Unilever for roughly 50 years. Greene also handled the company's $411.5 million acquisition of the TIGI global professional hair products business, in 2009.

Tonia Lovell is Unilever's chief legal officer.

Brynwood turned to Dickstein Shapiro as outside counsel, according to a lawyer involved in the transaction. The Dickstein team is led by Stamford, Connecticut–based M&A partner Martin Clarke. Dickstein did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the matter. The deal is the second this week that Clarke has led for Brynwood Partners. He also advised on the private equity firm's acquisition of Pearson Candy Company, which was announced on Monday.

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