By and  on February 18, 2005

NEW YORK — Coty Inc. has acquired the global beauty license of Nautica Apparel Inc. and plans to launch a new men’s fragrance next spring, while continuing the brand’s three existing fragrances.

Bernd Beetz, chief executive officer of Coty Inc., said the deal was made with the intention of further bolstering one of the three marketing pillars of Coty’s Lancaster division’s prestige business. The first pillar consists of celebrity fragrances, led by Jennifer Lopez and joined by Baby Phat and recently Sarah Jessica Parker. The second pillar is the designer group, consisting of Marc Jacobs, Jil Sander, Vivienne Westwood, Joop, Kenneth Cole and Nikos.

The third pillar is composed of lifestyle brands, like Davidoff, Lancaster and Chopard, which is where Nautica will be grouped. Beetz said he was attracted to Nautica because the apparel brand  “captures the consumer’s desire for an energetic lifestyle.”

Beetz also said he was drawn to the brand because of its global appeal as well as its outdoor profile.

Coty is starting fresh with Nautica after the fashion house’s former license with Unilever expired. Nautica, a division of VF Corp., had a relationship with Unilever since 1998. Three Nautica fragrance brands remain on the market: Nautica Classic for men and women, Latitude Longitude and Nautica Competition.

Financial details were not disclosed. However, industry sources estimate Nautica’s fragrance business at $45 million in retail sales for the U.S. and $50 million retail in total global volume. Since the license had expired, sources speculate that it cost Coty little to make the deal, except for perhaps spending several million dollars on inventory.

Beetz noted that the Nautica fragrance business is strong in the U.S. with an “echo” in Europe and Asia.

Denise V. Seegal, president and ceo of Nautica  Enterprises Inc., said she is excited to be in partnership with a company that has such “an incredibly talented executive team” that has exhibited such insight into the “consumer’s needs and aspirations.”

“Coty’s momentum over the last couple years has been quite extraordinary,” said Seegal. “They have done a wonderful job of positioning different brands across the marketplace.”

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