Procter & Gamble, the FMCG giant, has taken a significant step to expand its multicultural personal care business by acquiring Walker & Co., a start-up that specialises in razors, lotions and shampoos targeted at African-Americans.

Announcing the acquisition in a statement, P&G explained that Walker & Co. will become a wholly-owned subsidiary, but that one that operates separately under Tristan Walker, its founder and CEO.

Walker, a high profile entrepreneur, launched his eponymous company as recently as 2013 after becoming frustrated that mass market grooming products did not adequately cater for the needs of people of color.

He launched Bevel, a razor brand designed to reduce razor bumps and irritation for men with coarse or curly hair, and this was followed by other products, such as Form Beauty haircare for women with textured hair.

“When I started Walker & Company Brands, I set out to build a company that would meet the health and beauty needs of people of color on a global scale,” he said in the P&G statement.

“Having access to P&G’s outstanding technology, capabilities and expertise helps us to further realize that vision, giving us the power to scale and bring new products to people of color, while staying true to our mission and continuing to nurture the loyal community we’ve worked hard to build.”

P&G, the maker of the Braun and Gillette razor brands, already markets some products geared towards the needs of people of color, as does its European rival Unilever, but it fully expects the merger with Walker & Co. to accelerate growth in a black beauty market that is estimated to be worth $4.5bn in the US alone.

“The combination of Walker & Company’s deep consumer understanding, authentic connection to its community and unique, highly customized products and P&G’s highly-skilled and experienced people, resources, technical capabilities and global scale will allow us to further improve the lives of the world’s multicultural consumers,” said Alex Keith, CEO of P&G Beauty.

Under the terms of the deal, Walker & Co. will relocate from California to Atlanta, Georgia, in order to be closer to its largest customer base in the US. And with P&G now as parent company, accelerated global expansion could be the next logical move for the future.

Sourced from Procter & Gamble; additional content by WARC staff