How To Sell Your Business Without Selling Out
In late 2017, Unilever, (the company who owns brands like Axe, Lipton Tea, Vaseline, and Q-tips) purchased Sundial. Pictured above is Richlieu Dennis; he is the Founder of Sundial Brands. You may or may not be familiar with Sundial, but their most well-known brand is Shea Moisture, which is oftentimes found in the "ethnic" aisle of your local grocery or convenient store. The acquisition was pretty a important move because its not often that you see a black face at the helm of such a nationally recognized brand.
To sell seemed to be antithetical to what it means to be an independent company, but what set this deal apart is what the founders put in the agreement: the creation of The New Voices Fund. The fund was was designed to empower women of color entrepreneurs, and the initial investment has already been set at $50 million. The vision is to scale the Fund to $100 million by pulling in investments from other sources.
It's refreshing to see because instead of just selling off their company, they made sure that in the process they were lifting others up as well. They negotiated into the deal a terms of sale that required their buyers to put millions of dollars into the hands of their community. A completely unheard of, but great way of thinking. It puts in perspective the stance one should take in regards to the responsibility to take care of the community that built your brand, and the integrity to follow through.
What's Rich venturing into next? Well, he just bought Essence magazine for starters, so its apparent his game plan is just unveiling.