Unilever is to acquire US-based firm Sundial Brands, as it looks to expand in the personal care products segment.

Sundial Brands is a hair and skincare company and its brands include SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage, Madam C.J. Walker and nyakio. It will operate as a standalone unit within Unilever. The company’s founder, Richelieu Dennis, will continue to lead the business as chief executive.

As part of the agreement, Unilever and Sundial are creating the New Voices Fund with an initial investment of $50 million to empower women of colour entrepreneurs. The intention is to scale the Fund to $100m by attracting investments from other interested parties.

Kees Kruythoff, president of Unilever North America, said: “The Sundial team has built differentiated and on-trend premium brands serving multicultural and millennial consumers that enhance our existing portfolio. Sundial is an important addition to our US portfolio of purpose-driven companies, which includes Ben & Jerry’s and Seventh Generation.”

President of Unilever Personal Care Alan Jope added: “We are excited to partner with Richelieu and his team to enable Sundial to bring its unique product offerings and community impact to more people around the world. We look forward to continuing to grow the business and make an even bigger impact on society through Sundial’s community programs.”