The rumors are progressing.
According to sources talking to TechCrunch, Unilever is currently moving into pole position, so to speak, for the acquisition of Honest Company. Those sources seem a bit divided on how advanced those talks are; some are reflecting a bid being imminent, while other report the talks are in very early phases.
Exact pricing has not been revealed, though the whispers are hinting at sums in the $1 billion range, making Honest the latest big-ticket acquisition for Unilever in string of big moves. Earlier this year, the firm snapped up Dollar Shave Club in another massive $1 billion deal.
Early reports surfacing toward the end of last week indicated that Procter & Gamble was the likely leading contender in the bid, but it seems Unilever is more ready to make a move on the high-profile seller of diapers, baby formula, bath and body care and laundry detergent. The brand has attracted a good deal of attention — actress Jessica Alba is a cofounder — but apart from Hollywood bonafides, investors have been interested with the large volume of sales Honest derives from its own site and online presence, as opposed to placement in retail stores.
But Honest is competing in a market that is increasingly getting crowded with competitors vying for even more targeted niches than their own, and despite generating a notable $275 million in revenue last year, experts have questioned if it can win in its low-margin, high-competition vertical long term without a big expansion.
Representatives from Unilever and The Honest Company did not respond to a request for comment.