Unilever puts brands on block

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Unilever has decided it doesn't need a little Finesse, putting the brand up for sale along with flagging hair-care siblings Salon Selectives and Aquanet, according to people familiar with the matter.

A Unilever spokeswoman declined to comment.

The brands have gotten relatively scant attention in recent years as Unilever concentrated mainly on its global powerhouse Dove and value-brand Suave. But despite years of double-digit sales declines as it went without an advertising agency or substantial media support, Finesse, launched in the early 1980s, still has more than $51 million in sales as measured by Information Resources Inc. and likely more than $75 million in all outlets.

Salon Selectives, which Unilever tried unsuccessfully to sell two years ago, has measured sales of less than $5 million. Aquanet has sales of $11 million in measured outlets that would rise to $15 million if all outlets were totaled.

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