NEW YORK — The Estée Lauder Cos. notified the Securities and Exchange Commission late Monday that it has signed an agreement to purchase French skin care company Darphin Laboratoires. According to the filing, the transaction is subject to certain significant conditions, including potential review by French competition authorities, and is not expected to be completed until later in the year.
This story first appeared in the January 14, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The cosmetics powerhouse made its last company purchase in June of 2000 when it acquired a majority share in the hair care firm Bumble and Bumble.
Darphin Laboratoires, founded in 1958 by Pierre Darphin, is a skin care line comprised of essential oils and plant extracts; the products also take into account the user’s skin type and lifestyle. Products are labeled with expiration dates and have few preservatives. The products are intended to tackle skin care in three ways: phytobiology, or extracting complexes from plants to feed and oxygenate the skin; aromatherapy, treating with essential oils; and phytotherapy, treating with the active components of the plants. The products are produced in France.
Darphin items are sold at high-end independent pharmacies, primarily in Europe, and in specialty stores in more than 50 countries. In the U.S., the products are sold in upscale specialty store doors, including Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue.
The current owner and manager of Darphin is Andre Benet, along with his family. According to the SEC filing, under the terms of the deal, Benet will continue to direct Darphin’s creative activities, its manufacturing and its current distribution.
A Lauder spokesperson declined to comment on the SEC filing, saying that the transaction is not yet complete.