According to a new report, the Honest Company is in early acquisition talks with Unilever.
Back in February, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that the brand, launched as a diaper subscription service beloved by moms who like a little frisson of crunch but aren’t interested in going full cloth lifestyle, was actively working toward going public. But IPOs, especially for the tech set, have been slow lately, and in April, Women’s Wear Daily said that the company was exploring a sale, instead. (Gotta cash out that more than $200 million in venture capital somehow!)
And now the Wall Street Journal reports—according to anonymous sources—that they’re talking to Unilever:
Unilever, maker of Dove soaps and Axe body sprays, is discussing a deal valued at over $1 billion but significantly less than the $1.7 billion valuation that was placed on Honest in a fundraising round last year, the people said. The talks are at an early stage, and Honest hasn’t ruled out going for an initial public offering instead, one of the people said.
“Acquiring Honest would give Unilever a foothold in the fast-growing market for ‘natural’ or ‘green’ cleaning products, as well as the diaper business,” the Journal said, while also noting that, “Honest’s business model could give Unilever more insight into shopper behavior, but risks alienating traditional retailers that carry its goods.”
Somewhere, in a boardroom deep within Unilever HQ, a middle-aged graduate of Harvard Business School stares at a powerpoint presentation, shrugs his shoulders. “I dunno, man, millennials love hippie shit.”