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French beauty giant L’Oréal will acquire Australian brand Aesop in a deal worth $2.5 billion. This is the largest acquisition ever made by L’Oréal.
Previously, the $1.7 billion acquisition of YSL Beauté in 2008 was at the top of the list. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2023.
Natura & Co., the parent company of Aesop, announced the deal on Monday. The Brazilian beauty and cosmetics company operates in over 100 countries. Natura and Co., fully acquired Aesop in 2016. Previously, it acquired a 65% stake in 2012. Aesop was founded in 1987 in Australia.
Company’s CEO Fabio Barbosa said the divestment of Aesop would help cut the company’s debt and focus on other areas for growth.
“With a strengthened financial structure and a deleveraged balance sheet, Natura & Co, exercising strict financial discipline, will be able to sharpen its focus on its strategic priorities, notably our investment plan in Latin America,” Barbosa said.
L’Oréal CEO Nicolas Hieronimus was praised for Aesop and hoped the brand would break into the Chinese market. It currently operates in 29 countries across the globe. This is also the first acquisition under Hieronimus, who took the company’s reigns in May 2021.
Aesop is the epitome of avant-garde beauty, whose products are not only made with great care and exceptional attention to detail; they are a superb combination of urbanity, hedonism, and undeniable luxury,” Hieronimus said. “Aesop taps into all of today’s ascending currents. L’Oréal will contribute to unleashing its massive growth potential, notably in China and travel retail.”
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