Unilever has swooped to acquire the US-based maker of Tresemmé and Alberto VO5 shampoos in a deal worth $3.7bn (£2.34bn).

Alberto Culver generated annual sales of $1.6bn in the year to 30 June.

Unilever will become the second largest maker of shampoo in the world as a result of the deal, the fmcg giant claimed, and the largest in hair conditioner.

The move marks Unilever’s latest major acquisition after last year’s billion-pound swoop for Sara Lee’s personal care arm – a deal that has since come under scrutiny from European competition authorities.

“Personal care is a strategic category for Unilever and growing rapidly,” said Unilever chief executive Paul Polman.

“Ten years ago it represented 20% of our turnover; strong organic growth has driven it to now reach over 30%, with strong positions in many of the emerging markets.”

He added: “Alberto Culver has done an excellent job of building brands such as Tresemm´, VO5, Nexxus, St. Ives and Simple.

“These will complement Unilever's existing portfolio of iconic brands like Dove, Clear and Sunsilk in hair care and Pond's and Vaseline in skin.”

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