By and  on February 27, 2008

PARIS — Galderma Pharma, the pharmaceutical company jointly owned by L'Oréal and Nestlé, has agreed to acquire CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals.

The deal, which is valued at $420 million, will be made through Galderma's U.S. holding company Galderma Laboratories Inc. and completed in two steps — a cash tender offer followed by a merger.

"This transaction should be neutral to Galderma's net income in 2008 and accretive as of 2009," stated Humberto C. Antunes, Galderma Pharma's chief executive officer.

The transaction's finalization is expected before the end of the second quarter this year.

CollaGenex, based in Newtown, Pa., registered nine-month 2007 sales of $46.6 million, a 256 percent rise from $13.1 million in the comparable prior-year period. Revenues for Galderma, based here, last year hit 368 million euros, or $504.4 million at average exchange, up 12.7 percent.

In other L'Oréal-related news, the company on Tuesday announced it will bring back general salary increases for its 12,000 employees in France. The move follows a strike held by 10 percent of L'Oréal's French workforce last week to demand a return to general pay rises. (Until now, pay increases were contingent only on individual performance.)

"Taking into account the foreseeable return of inflation in 2008, confirmed by figures from [France's statistics office] Insee last Friday, and following the annual meetings with staff representatives, L'Oréal decided to again make use, to some extent, of general increase measures," the firm stated.

— Jennifer Weil and Ellen Groves

Blanchett Event Marks SK-II Ad

LOS ANGELES — Cate Blanchett headlined a lunch here Monday to unveil a new ad campaign for the SK-II skin care brand.

The Academy Award-winning actress is the focus of print advertisements in the March edition of Elle that are scheduled for subsequent beauty-related titles in the U.S., U.K., Australia and Spain. The campaign, which was shot by photographer Michael Thompson, and produced by ad firm Leo Burnett, features Blanchett in black and white with minimal makeup and no clothes and reads, "It's not part of my skin care is my skin care ritual."

Accompanying the campaign is the release of SK-II's Essentials Collection, which features the 5-oz. Facial Treatment Essence, a Facial Treatment Mask box with four masks, and 1-oz. Facial Treatment Repair C. Priced at $250, the collection is set to be launched exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue and next month before it rolls out more broadly. The Procter & Gamble-owned brand is available in about 40 U.S. doors.

Blanchett signed on with SK-II in her native Australia in mid-2004, at about the time the brand was being introduced in the U.S. She widened her relationship with SK-II to become the brand's global ambassador in October, a role set to be extended to Asian countries later this year.

SK-II's top market is Japan, where the brand was founded more than 25 years ago and has had a lengthy affiliation with actress Kaori Momoi.

"I think all good things are spread by word of mouth. That is how I heard about it," Blanchett said of SK-II. "I was already an unofficial ambassador before they approached me. If something doesn't work, I part company. Now, using the brand for seven years, I feel my skin is better, and that is no small feat being seven years older."

Even though she didn't win in the two Oscar categories for which she was nominated (for best actress in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" and best supporting actress in "I'm Not There"), she graciously complimented best supporting actress winner Tilda Swinton on her Lanvin dress and pronounced the mood in Hollywood as celebratory.

Clearly, though, she was ready to go home after a whirlwind weekend and concentrate on her growing family, which will welcome a third child this spring. As for rest, she sighed, "On the plane, I will."

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