International consumer goods company Unilever has acquired male grooming upstart Dollar Shave Club. The purchase price was not disclosed, but The New York Times and Fortune separately reported the deal’s valued as $1 billion.
While Dollar Shave Club is private, Unilever said the company had 2015 revenue of $152 million, and is on track to log more than $200 million in sales this year. More importantly, Dollar Shave Club’s 3.2 million members offers Unilever a potent database of male buying habits, and a successful direct-marketing Internet model, which Unilever — a dominating force in in-store retail sales — has not fully exploited to date.
“Dollar Shave Club is an innovative and disruptive male grooming brand with incredibly deep connections to its diverse and highly engaged consumers,” said Kees Kruythoff, Unilever North America president, in a statement. “In addition to its unique consumer and data insights, Dollar Shave Club is the category leader in its direct-to-consumer space.”
Dollar Shave Club’s value extends beyond shaving, to include such products as men’s personal wash, hair styling, and skin care products. Since its founding in 2011, the company has been characterized by edgy, viral ads featuring founder Michael Dubin. Prior to its acquisition by Unilever, Dollar Shave Club had amassed venture capital funding of about $148 million.
According to David Pakman, a venture capitalist at Venrock Partners, which has invested in several early Dollar Shave Club rounds, the acquisition represented a “10x” return for his firm, according to The New York Times.
Dubin will continue to serve as CEO of Dollar Shave Club, Unilever said.