At the end of last month it was announced that the Anglo-Dutch giant would acquire professional brand Dermalogica, while skin care brands Kate Somerville and REN have also been snapped up earlier in the year.
Company CEO Paul Polman explains that Murad will join Unilever’s portfolio of Prestige personal care brands and, along with the other recent acquisitions, will help jointly position the company as a key player in the segment.
“As an expert ‘Doctor brand’, Murad offers products in a differentiated clinical and holistic well-being segment,” he says.
“It has a loyal following that gives it excellent potential for expansion, and wonderfully complements the brands recently acquired. We look forward to working with Dr Murad and his team to continue to grow the brand.”
Analysts have commented that buying such a well-established brand will help Unilever to reach out to another niche consumer segment in premium skin care.
"Murad stands out in Unilever’s new premium portfolio with claims of practical clinical experience built into its product range and its offering of dietary supplements and lifestyle programmes for skin health,” says Ildiko Szalai, Senior Analyst, Beauty and Personal Care at Euromonitor.
The brand had a turnover of $115m in 2014 and Euromonitor believes its global reach combined with Unilever’s expertise could be a recipe for success.
“Murad registered over 11% CAGR between 2009 and 2014 in its domestic US premium beauty market. In 2014 it has purchased its UK distributor with the aim to accelerate expansion in Europe… [and it] has also established operations in Hong Kong to aid its Asian expansion,” continues Szalai.
“The Chinese premium skin care market would be its most attractive target as it is forecast to generate some 60% of the global category value growth between 2014 and 2019."
Dr Murad was founded in 1989 in Los Angeles, by Howard Murad MD, a dermatologist, pharmacist, and UCLA professor.
He developed a unique recipe of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and hydrators to address skin care concerns, from acne to anti-ageing, and has since built a significant presence in the US through professional salons and spas, and specialist retailers, as well as through direct sales.
The company also has a regional hub for Europe located in the UK, and the brand can be found in over 42 countries.
“We’ve always looked for opportunities to reach more people with our message of Inclusive Health and to touch more lives with our targeted, high-performance products,” says Dr Murad.
“With Unilever, we can broaden our reach and significantly grow our brand while remaining faithful to the founding principles of Murad.”