Research by: Sanchita Krishna, Sandeep Puri, & Rakesh Singh
In December 2018, Hindustan Unilever Limited announced that it would buy out GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Consumer Healthcare Ltd. India business, which included popular brands such as Horlicks, Boost, and Viva. With Horlicks in its portfolio, Hindustan Unilever Limited expected to gain market share, draw synergies from individual strengths, and gain access to a larger consumer base. However, India’s health food drink category had registered only single-digit growth in 2017. Its primary target audience of parents, physicians, and nutritionists had concerns regarding the side effects of sugar as a key ingredient in beverages such as Horlicks. With consumer focus shifting to healthier, preservative-free alternatives, among other issues, Hindustan Unilever Limited was faced with a challenge: how could it build on Horlicks’s brand equity to sustain its leadership position in the disrupting health food drink market, leverage its leadership position to grow the company in this segment, and take that growth to double digits?
This case is designed for use in a graduate-level marketing course in a segment on marketing strategies for market leaders, product and brand management after mergers and acquisitions, or consumer behaviour. It examines the implications for both parties of a merger between two major players in the Indian food and beverage and consumer health care market and looks in detail at the Indian health food drink market, its outlook after the merger, and the consequent competitive shifts within the market. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to
- describe the Indian health food drink market and the factors contributing to its existing condition;
- outline the structure of a deal between two major players in a competitive food and beverage market;
- assess the implications of the GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Consumer Healthcare Ltd. India deal for Hindustan Unilever Limited and the Horlicks brand;
- assess the outlook of the Indian health food drink market after the merger; and
- evaluate plausible future growth strategies for Hindustan Unilever Limited and Horlicks.
Issues: brand management, brand equity, market strategy, mergers and acquisitions
Disciplines: Marketing, International
Setting: India, Large, 2018
Intended Audience: MBA/Postgraduate
To cite this case: Krishna, S., Puri, S., & Singh, R. (2020). Unilever: Using Horlicks’s brand equity to lead. Ivey ID: 9B20A021. London, Canada: Ivey Publishing.
To access this case: https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=108887