It's no great secret that Alberto-Culver (NYSE:ACV) wanted to split up its consumer products business and its Sally Beauty retail business. After all, that was the underlying motivation in the ill-fated attempt to spin off and merge the Sally business with Regis (NYSE:RGS) earlier this year. And though Alberto-Culver may have realized that Regis wasn't the strong partner that it had hoped for, it looks as though management is still going to get its way.

On Monday morning, Alberto-Culver announced a new plan for separating its two business units. Each Alberto-Culver shareholder will get one share each of the two new businesses, as well as a $25-per-share special dividend. To fund that dividend, Alberto-Culver will take on $1.85 billion in new debt, as well as sell a large chunk of Sally Beauty to private equity partner Clayton, Dubiller, Rice.

With the sale, the consumer products business will largely remain what it is today -- a niche-oriented company that is far smaller than rivals like Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL) and Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), but much larger than a company like Chattem (NASDAQ:CHTT), which has only a small hair-care business.

The Sally Beauty business, though, might really benefit from being out on its own -- I've been in the stores a few times and thought they could be much better than they were. Perhaps the freedom and responsibility that will come from being out from under Alberto-Culver will give the new company the means and the motivation to make those changes.

Folks who've held onto Alberto-Culver stock this long might just want to stick around and see how it all shakes out. After all, it's not all that uncommon for spin-offs and break-ups to do better than the parent company did, even if it's not immediately obvious which company will do better at the time of the separation.

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Regis was a former Stock Advisor recommendation. Colgate-Palmolive is anInside Valuerecommendation. Try out any of our investing newsletters free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Stephen Simpson but has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).