NEW YORK — Another independent brand is being snapped up — Kao plans to buy John Frieda Professional Hair Care for $450 million.

The deal was signed off Wednesday night here through the Japanese company’s wholly owned U.S. subsidiary, The Andrew Jergens Co. The acquisition is expected to be complete in early September, pending regulatory approval. The deal does not include Frieda’s six hair care salons in the U.S. and U.K., which he continues to own. Kao has been looking to become a player in the $4 billion U.S. mass hair care market for several years, as evidenced by its losing bid for Clairol to Procter & Gamble last spring. The purchase of John Frieda Professional, a $160 million company, immediately ranks Kao as a top-10 U.S. hair care manufacturer, most notably with the Frizz-Ease, Sheer Blonde and Beach Blonde brands. Kao’s presence in U.S. hair care has up to now been limited to the salon market with the Goldwell and KMS brands.

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