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SmartyPants Vitamins

Unilever to acquire US vitamins business SmartyPants – and other news

Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever has upped its health and wellness offering through the acquisition of US-based SmartyPants Vitamins.

The Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Marmite owner said it had signed an agreement to buy the Los Angeles-based vitamin, mineral and supplement business for an undisclosed sum.

SmartyPants Vitamins was founded in 2011 by entrepreneurs Courtney Nichols Gould and Gordon Gould with an emphasis on using natural ingredients.

It works with non-GMO certified ingredients and a range of sustainably sourced “bio-available nutrients”. Their product range is free from synthetic colours, artificial flavours, sweeteners and preservatives. 

Peter Ter Kulve, president of health and wellbeing at Unilever, said SmartyPants Vitamins “complements Unilever’s portfolio of brands in the functional nutrition and supplement segment”, pointing to brands such as Horlicks and Olly.

The Gould owners, who are co-CEOs, added: “From the start, SmartyPants Vitamins has been about family, authenticity and a core commitment to our collective well-being. We are excited to work with Unilever to grow the SmartyPants brand.”  

SmartyPants Vitamins has a long-standing partnership with non-profit organisation Vitamin Angels to provide vitamins for mothers, expectant mothers and children in need worldwide. 

Unilever has completed several deals in the last two years in areas similar to SmartyPants Vitamins. In April this year, the company acquired the food-and-beverage brand Horlicks and other consumer healthcare nutrition products from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).  In April 2019, it bought US-based vitamins-to-snack-bars firm Olly Nutrition.

Other Unilever news

SIngle listing: Friday 27 November was the last day the FMCG giant will see the Dutch shares in the company trade in Amsterdam. The group’s UK (plc) and Dutch (NV) arms will now come together to form one legal entity based in London, ending 90 years as a dual-headed company.

From Monday 30 November, the new Unilever plc will trade in London and in Amsterdam, with an American depositary share available in the US.

Unilever has said the corporate rejig, announced this summer, would give it “strategic flexibility for portfolio evolution”, with the possibility for deals on both sides of the ledger.

Last month, Unilever underlined how the so-called “unification” will allow the company to be “more creative” on asset disposals. In June, when Unilever announced its plans for a new corporate structure, the company hinted at the idea of a possible spin-off of its foods and refreshments division into an independent company.

Unilever has signalled the company would also look to make acquisitions, albeit at a slower pace than in recent years, to boost the growth profile of the business, to wit, this week’s latest acquisition of SmartyPants Vitamins.

Source: Reuters; just-food.com

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