Jessica Alba's Honest Co. in $1bn takeover talks with Unilever

Actress and Honest Company co-founder Jessica Alba © Mat Hayward
Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever is reportedly in talks to acquire consumer goods retailer Honest Co. for $1 billion, significantly below the company's $1.7 billion valuation.

Co-founded by actress Jessica Alba in 2012, Honest sells products aimed at young mothers, including household cleaners, hand sanitizers and brightly patterned diapers. The company generates about $300 million in annual sales.

Unilever sells household and personal care products and packaged food globally. However it doesn’t compete with Honest in many product categories in the US market. The multinational wants to broaden its activity in the US market through the natural goods Honest is known for.

The talks are currently at an early stage and the California-based company may still rule out a deal and go ahead with an initial public offering.

Since the company’s launch in 2011, Honest has raised over $200 million from outside investors, according to the data compiled by FactSet.

Besides Alba, company investors include General Catalyst Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners as well as money managers Fidelity Management & Research and Wellington Management.

If the company is sold, Honest has pledged to pay some investors double their investment, according to the Wall Street Journal.