PARIS -- German cosmetics giant Wella AG said Wednesday it has acquired "over 90 percent" of the Cologne, Germany-based Muelhens perfume concern.
The announcement came at the annual shareholders' meeting at Wella's Darmstadt, Germany, headquarters. Wella termed the deal "the most important one in the history of the group."
The purchase price was not disclosed, but Wella and Muelhens both said the sale was a friendly one based on mutual interests. Peter Zuhlsdorff, chairman of Wella, told WWD the transaction was significant in terms of the brands acquired, especially 4711, as well as the size of the business acquired.
Last year, Muelhens had worldwide sales of $370 million (620 million marks) at current exchange rates, mainly in Europe.
The main goal of the acquisition is to boost Wella's prestige cosmetics and fragrance businesses, said Zuhlsdorff. Wella owns the Rene Garraud hair care line, distributed mainly through beauty salons, as well as the Paris-based Rochas fragrance, cosmetics and couture house. Muelhens makes and distributes the Gabriella Sabatini and Priscilla Presley fragrances, among others. It also owns the worldwide license for Gucci fragrances and the Charles Jourdan scent. The French Payot cosmetics line is also part of Muelhens.
Zuhlsdorff confirmed that Wella had once considered selling off the Rochas business. In Paris, it was widely rumored that Rochas's former president, Laurent Normand, stepped down last year because he was unable to find a buyer. Zuhlsdorff said Normand left Rochas amicably.
Now, following the appointment of Edda Wendig last year as Normand's replacement, Wella is committed to building a presence in the middle market with brands like Sabatini, and strengthening its prestige positioning by adding a line like Gucci to its roster, Zuhlsdorff explained.
Besides getting into different levels of the cosmetics business, Wella will get into new markets. Rochas's market strengths are France and Spain, while Muelhens is strong in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland. Brands from both companies could tap into each other's distribution, Zuhlsdorff noted.
Until now, Muelhens has been a privately held company owned by two branches of the Muelhens family.
Lothrl Hawel will remain as managing director of Muelhens, running day-to-day operations. He will report directly to Heiner Gurtler, a Wella board member responsible for the group's cosmetic and fragrance activities.
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews