Unilever N.V.'s Unilever U.S. subsidiary has acquired Helene Curtis Industries for $770 million. The deal is expected to close in March. Chicago-based Curtis, with sales of $1.27 billion, markets such brands as Degree antiperspirant, Suave hair and skincare, Finesse, Salon Selectives and Vibrance haircare. Its U.S. ad spending totals $93 million, according to Competitive Media Reporting. DDB
Needham Worldwide, Chicago, handles the bulk of the account with Bayer Bess Vanderwarker, Chicago, handling Suave. Unilever, however, tends to rely on a core group of agencies that includes McCann-Erickson, J. Walter Thompson Co., Ammirati Puris Lintas and Ogilvy & Mather. But currently McCann, JWT
and Ammirati all have conflicts; they handle L'Oreal, Clairol and Johnson & Johnson haircare, respectively. DDB is also a J&J agency, but in skincare.