NEW YORK — The Regis Corporation has acquired the Vidal Sassoon salon and academy business from Haircare Ltd. The deal includes 25 international Vidal Sassoon salons and four salon training academies. Neither London-based Haircare nor Regis disclosed details of the acquisition.

Regis, which is publicly traded and based in Minneapolis, also assumed the licensing rights to the Vidal Sassoon brand from Procter & Gamble, which continues to own the Vidal Sassoon trademark. The acquisition does not affect the Vidal Sassoon hair care line, which P&G makes and markets, or its other licensing deals of the hair care brand.

Regis, said to be the largest operator of salons in the world with 9,300 units globally, is best known for aggressively, yet cautiously, growing each banner it acquires. Among its salons are Regis, Supercuts, Jean Louis David, Trade Secret, MasterCuts and SmartStyle, a salon chain that operates in Wal-Mart stores.

Kyle Didier, vice president of finance for Regis, said its growth plan for Vidal Sassoon will begin as soon as Regis better understands Vidal Sassoon’s culture, attitude and style. New Vidal Sassoon salons are expected to begin surfacing in the second half of 2003, and to a better extent in 2004.

"We will work with P&G to see how [future salons] will be laid out and designed, and also look for real estate locations. 2004 is where you will really see the progression," Didier said. Both the U.S. and London hold the most potential for new Vidal Sassoon salons, he said. "The U.K. has a very good brand awareness and [despite] geographic and real estate limitations, there is still opportunity."

There are 10 Vidal Sassoon salons in the U.S.; one in Canada; 10 in London, and four in Germany.

Didier explained that the Sassoon acquisition fits well with the company’s strategy of exploiting strong salon brands. For example, the company acquired 154-unit SmartStyle in May 1996. Now, there are more than 1,200 SmartStyle salons.

The Sassoon acquisition marks Regis’ second substantial deal this year. In May, the company acquired 1,200 unit-Jean Louis David.

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