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Hindustan Unilever Enters Well-Being Market by Buying Stake in 2 Indian Companies

Hindustan Unilever (HUL), the Indian subsidiary of the British multinational consumer goods company Unilever, has announced its entry into the 'health and wellbeing segment by acquiring stakes in two major Indian companies, Zywie Ventures (Oziva) and Nutritionalab.

Shivam Dwivedi
Mission of improving consumer health & well-being and empowering people to take charge of their health through solutions.
Mission of improving consumer health & well-being and empowering people to take charge of their health through solutions.

OZiva, a pioneering plant-based and clean-label consumer wellness brand founded in 2016, focuses on high-demand areas such as lifestyle protein, hair and beauty supplements, and women's health. HUL will acquire 100% of Zywie Ventures (Oziva) in two tranches, with 51.00% of the shareholdings acquired in the first tranche for Rs 264 crore (US$32m) and the remaining 49.00% acquired in the second tranche for Rs 264 crore (US$32m).

The company will indirectly and proportionally acquire Zenherb Labs Private Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Zywie Ventures Private Limited, by subscribing to and purchasing shares of Zywie Ventures Private Limited.

In addition, for Rs 70 crore (US$8.5 million), the company acquired a 19.8% stake in Nutritionalab (Wellbeing Nutrition), an online store specializing in female health and nutrition. According to market participants, the valuations of both companies are nearly five times their revenue run rates. Wellbeing Nutrition, founded in 2019, has pioneered disruptive formats in science-backed, benefit-led clean health and wellbeing products.

It is a digital-first brand with an omnichannel approach, with products available on its website (direct-to-consumer), digital marketplaces, and offline stores, where its presence is said to be growing. The company's annual revenue run rate exceeds Rs 50 crore (US$6.07 million), and its product line includes melts (oral thin strips), slow (slow-release capsules), and marine collagen powder aimed at need areas such as beauty, everyday health, gut health, and sleep.

"We are delighted to welcome OZiva and Wellbeing Nutrition to the HUL family and our portfolio of purpose-led brands," said Sanjiv Mehta, CEO and Managing Director of HUL. These strategic investments allow us to enter the rapidly growing Health & Wellness category. They are strongly aligned with our mission of improving consumer health and well-being and empowering people to take charge of their health through solutions."

"I am confident that HUL is well-positioned to help these businesses scale up further through our R&D, Market Development, and Distribution capabilities and Unilever's global Health & Wellbeing expertise." OZiva's founders, Aarti Gill and Mihir Gadani, stated that it is the next step in the company's growth journey, emphasizing innovation in the health and wellness space.

The founder believed that by leveraging HUL's strong category development and distribution capabilities, the companies would collaborate to create a stronger purpose-led brand. Similarly, Wellbeing Nutrition founder and CEO Avnish Chhabria believe that by leveraging HUL's reach and capabilities, Wellbeing Nutrition will be able to scale and become a lifestyle wellness brand of choice.

Hull stated that both companies' current teams will continue to operate all functions of their respective businesses. It will have a seat on the boards of these companies and will provide the necessary capabilities and support as they grow. Both transactions are expected to close in 1-3 months, depending on customary closing conditions.

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