Shiseido acquires 'clean' skin care brand Drunk Elephant

Shiseido beats Estée Lauder Companies and Unilever in battle for the indie cosmetics brand

Japanese conglomerate Shiseido has seen off competition from Estée Lauder and Unilever to acquire cult skin care start-up Drunk Elephant.

In January, it was revealed the brand was gearing up for a takeover, with an estimated US$1bn price tag, however, the brand’s sale price has not been disclosed.

Drunk Elephant, founded in 2012, generated sales of just under $150m in 2018.

“We are thrilled to announce the acquisition of Drunk Elephant, one of the fastest growing prestige skin care brands in history,” said Masahiko Uotani, Shiseido’s President and CEO.

“This transaction is squarely aligned with Shiseido’s Vision 2020 goal of accelerating growth and creating value through strategic partnerships.”

Image: via Instagram @drunkelephant

Founder Tiffany Masterson, is expected to stay with the brand as President and Chief Creative Officer.

Commenting on the acquisition, she said it was a “dream come true” to partner with a “powerhouse beauty company”.

“I started this business as an industry outsider and from the beginning I did things a little differently,” she said.

“We share similar values, most importantly an unwavering commitment to the consumer.

“I chose a partner who will let the brand continue to be itself, with the same formulations and the same team.”

Drunk Elephant will be the first ‘clean’ beauty brand in Shiseido’s portfolio.

It joins other premium and masstige brands including bareMinerals, Laura Mercier, NARS Cosmetics and Issey Miyake.

Marc Rey, Shiseido Americas’ CEO, said he was “thrilled” to welcome Tiffany and the Drunk Elephant team to the Shiseido “family”.


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