Brian Lee from Honest Co.

Brian Lee from Honest Co.

Unilever is reportedly in talks to purchase Honest Co., the consumer-products retailer co-founded by actress Jessica Alba.

The deal, according to the Wall Street Journal, values the privately held Playa Vista firm at $1 billion, significantly below the $1.7 billion the company was priced at last year when it raised some $200 million from outside investors.

Honest Co. was hit with a false advertising consumer class action last year related to allegedly unnatural ingredients in its products, which may have impacted its valuation.

Honest Co. and Unilever did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Founded in 2011 by Alba and Chief Executive Brian Lee, among others, the company sells cleaning and household products it claims are free of chemical additives found in some mainstream competitors’ goods. The strategy has paid off for Honest Co., which is now carried in stores such as Target and Whole Foods. It reportedly generates $300 million in yearly revenue.

For consumer products giant Unilever, which owns brands ranging from Dove soap products to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, the purchase would continue its recent interest L.A.-area online retailers. Unilever bought Venice-based Dollar Shave Club in August, also for $1 billion.

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