INDIA – Hindustan Unilever (HUL), the Indian subsidiary of British multinational consumer goods company, Unilever, has announced its entrance into the ‘health and wellbeing segment with the acquisition of stakes in two Indian companies, Zywie Ventures (Oziva) and Nutritionalab, which are big players in the sector.

OZiva, a pioneering plant-based and clean-label consumer wellness brand that was established in 2016, focuses on areas with significant demand for lifestyle protein, hair and beauty supplements, and women’s health.

Through a combination of main infusion and secondary buyouts, HUL will acquire 100% of Zywie Ventures (Oziva) in two tranches, 51.00% of the shareholdings to be acquired in the first purchase for Rs 264 crore (US$32m), and the remaining 49.00% in the second tranche.

The company will indirectly and proportionately also acquire Zenherb Labs Private Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Zywie Ventures Private Limited through subscription of shares of Zywie Ventures Private Limited and purchase of shares.

In addition, the company has also acquired a 19.8% stake in an online store specialist in female health and nutrition, Nutritionalab (Wellbeing Nutrition) for Rs 70 crore (US$8.5m).

The valuation of both companies is nearly five times the revenue run rates of these companies, according to people familiar with the market.

Wellbeing Nutrition, which was founded in 2019, has pioneered disruptive formats in science-backed, benefit-led clean products in health & wellbeing.

It is a digital-first brand with an omnichannel approach, available on its website (D2C), digital marketplaces, and offline stores, where its presence is said to be growing.

The company has an annual revenue run rate of over Rs 50 crore (US$6.07m), and its product range includes melts (oral thin strips), slow (slow-release capsules) and marine collagen powder focused on need spaces such as beauty, everyday health, gut health, and sleep.

Sanjiv Mehta, CEO and Managing Director of HUL said: “We are delighted to welcome OZiva and Wellbeing Nutrition to the HUL family and our portfolio of purpose-led brands. These strategic investments give us an entry into the fast-growing Health & wellbeing category. They align strongly with our mission to improve the health and well-being of consumers and empower people to take charge of their health through solutions.

“I strongly believe that HUL is well-positioned to support further scale-up of these businesses through our R&D, Market Development, Distribution capabilities, and Unilever’s global Health & well-being expertise.”

Aarti Gill & Mihir Gadani, Founders of OZiva commented that it is a next step in the growth journey with OZiva’s focus on innovation in the space of health & wellbeing.

Leveraging HUL’s strong capabilities in category development and distribution, the founder believed the companies will work together to create a stronger purpose-led brand.

Similarly, Wellbeing Nutrition founder & CEO Avnish Chhabria believes this partnership will help scale Wellbeing Nutrition by leveraging HUL’s reach and capabilities and become a lifestyle wellness brand of choice.

Hull noted that the current teams at both companies will continue to operate all functions of the respective businesses. It will have representation on the boards of these companies and will provide the necessary capabilities and support to scale up.

Both these transactions are expected to be completed in 1-3 months, subject to customary closing conditions.

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