WASHINGTON — The Justice Department said Friday it will require Unilever and Alberto-Culver Co. to divest two hair care brands before Unilever can move forward with its $3.7 billion cash acquisition of Alberto-Culver, the Illinois-based owner of such brands as Nexxus, V05 and St. Ives.
The department’s antitrust division filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court here on Friday to block the proposed acquisition between three Unilever entities — Unilever NV, Unilever plc and Conopco Inc. — and Alberto-Culver. But at the same time, the agency filed a proposed settlement that, with court approval, would resolve the competitive concerns alleged in the lawsuit.
Federal officials said they have reached a settlement with both personal care product giants that must be approved by a federal court. Under the proposed settlement, the companies must divest Alberto-Culver’s Alberto VO5 brand and Unilever’s Rave brand, as well as related assets.
Without divestiture, the Justice Department said the acquisition would run afoul of antitrust laws because it would “substantially lessen competition in three product markets — value shampoo, value conditioner and hairspray” that are sold at retail, typically for less than $2 a bottle.
“Without the divestitures required by the department, consumers would have paid higher prices for value shampoo and conditioner and for hairspray sold in retail stores,” said Christine Varney, assistant attorney general in charge of Justice’s Antitrust Division.
According to the complaint, the acquisition would “eliminate significant head-to-head competition between the merging parties” for low-price shampoo, conditioner and hairspray.
The Justice Department said in the complaint that the deal would reduce the number of “significant competitors” in the “value” shampoo and conditioner markets from three to two and hand Unilever control of 90 percent of those markets. In the hairspray market, the agency charged that Unilever’s post-merger share would be about 46 percent. The combined markets would result in a “highly concentrated market,” the agency said.
There will be a 60-day public comment period regarding the proposed settlement. At the end of the comment period, the court may enter the settlement “upon a finding that it is in the public interest.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast