Unilever (UL) announced early Monday that it had agreed to buy beauty care company Alberto Culver Company for $3.7 billion in cash.

The deal will make Unilever the world's leading company in hair conditioning, the second largest in shampoo and the third largest in hair styling, Unilever said in a statement.

"We are delighted to be acquiring Alberto Culver," Unilever CEO Paul Polman said. "Their people have done an excellent job of building an impressive range of brands." Alberto Culver, which operates in nine countries including the United States, Canada, Mexico and South Africa, employs about 2,700 people and had sales of about $1.6 billion for the 12 months ending June 30.

The personal care market has been a fast-growing segment of Unilever's business, currently representing more than 30% of its turnover.







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