Shiseido sells beauty brands bareMinerals, Buxom and Laura Mercier

By Becky Bargh | Published: 26-Aug-2021

AI Beauty Holdings, a new company formed by private equity firm Advent, has agreed to buy the North American make-up brands

Japanese beauty conglomerate Shiseido has inked a deal to sell its bareMinerals, Buxom and Laura Mercier brands to AI Beauty Holdings, a new company formed by private equity firm Advent, the majority owner of Douglas, Europe’s biggest beauty retailer.

The move to divest in its brands is part of Shiseido’s long-term strategy, dubbed Win 2023 and Beyond, to only support the brands, categories and market regions that best support its competitive position and global growth.

Rumours began circling in April this year that the beauty owner was considering selling the North American brands, but would not comment on the speculation.

Shiseido said that under the guidance of AI Beauty, the three make-up brands would be better suited to accelerate their trajectory, as it backs its prestige beauty category.

This is the second time in 2021 that Shiseido has divested its brand portfolio, following its decision to sell its low-budget personal care brands to CVC back in February.

The agreement is estimated to have been worth US$1.5bn, and marked the beginning of Shiseido’s focus on its legacy beauty brands.

As part of the brand cull, the group also cut ties with luxury cosmetics brand Dolce & Gabbana, a brand Shiseido has had in its roster since 2016, in the same month by partially terminating its licensing contract.

At the time, Shiseido said that the change was a ‘strategic agreement’ between the parties and that the decision will affect all markets, excluding France, on 31 December.

“While bareMinerals, Buxom and Laura Mercier have been a core part of our portfolio and have benefitted from Shiseido’s stewardship to date, we believe Advent is uniquely positioned to continue supporting all three brands alongside their talented teams moving forward,” said Masahiko Uotani, President and CEO of Shiseido Group.

Among the beauty brands left in the Shiseido camp are its own-brand cosmetics and skin care brand Shiseido, Clé de Peau Beauté, NARS, Drunk Elephant, as well as fragrance brands Issey Miyake, Narciso Rodriguez and Serge Lutens.

“We remain focused on making strategic investments across the portfolio and exploring other potential opportunities that fit into our premium skin beauty and global growth objectives.”

Meanwhile, Advent’s Managing Director, Tricia Glynn, said that they are strong believers in the potential of the three brands, and announced that Pascal Houdayer will become CEO of the new company.

Houdayer is a seasoned member of the personal care industry, having held senior management positions at P&G, Henkel and Naos.

“We are excited to partner with Pascal Houdayer as CEO of the new company to accelerate the growth of these brands by continuing to develop innovative products, expanding into new categories and geographies and enhancing digital engagement with customers.”

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals, but is expected to close before the end of the year.

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