NEXT BEAUTY BUY?: Becca Cosmetics. GHD. IT Cosmetics. Mergers and acquisitions activity in the beauty space keeps on percolating. And at least one more deal is reportedly brewing today: Industry sources say LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is poised to acquire Maison Francis Kurkdjian.
Executives from the French fragrance house could not be reached by press time about the rumor. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for LVMH had no comment.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian — created by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian and Marc Chaya, the house’s president and chief executive officer — was launched in 2009 with a range of 25 products and a boutique in Paris. The wide-ranging brand takes a holistic approach to beauty, with a “fragrance wardrobe” involving everything from eaux de toilette to scented bubbles and textile cleaning products. Each is meant to play a part in perfuming a person’s life 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Today, Maison Francis Kurkdjian has two stores in Paris, three in Taiwan, one in Malaysia and another in Dubai. Worldwide, it also counts more than 30 counters and has a presence in over 400 retailers, including Bergdorf Goodman, Aedes Perfumery, C.O. Bigelow Apothecary and Neiman Marcus in New York.
The perfume label, whose largest market is the U.S., registered retail sales of about $25 million last year, up 40 percent versus 2014.
LVMH has not been among the slew of multinationals recently snapping up indie beauty brands in the wake of rapidly changing consumer behaviors and preferences. The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., which purchased Becca last month for an estimated $230 million-plus, had previously bought labels such as By Kilian and Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle. Lauder is reportedly eyeing two-year-old skin-care brand Drunk Elephant, as well.
L’Oréal said in July that it was acquiring IT Cosmetics for $1.2 billion, and inked deals for Société des Thermes de Saint-Gervais-les-Bains and the license to use the Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc beauty brand. The prior month, the world’s largest beauty company announced it had signed an agreement to buy Atelier Cologne. Shiseido, for its part, in June revealed it would purchase the Laura Mercier and RéVive businesses.
LVMH, which was a pioneer in acquiring indie beauty brands in the late Nineties, has currently been more actively developing niche brands through its Kendo division, which functions as an incubator for products that become retailed in the LVMH-owned Sephora perfumery chain, among other outposts. During the spring, Kendo landed a deal with Rihanna, one of the hottest-selling celebrities in the world of licensing, to create a complete color-cosmetics collection. The branch has also undertaken makeup projects with Kat Von D Beauty and Marc Jacobs Beauty.
Other perfume and cosmetics brands at LVMH, which ranked eleventh in the WWD Beauty Inc Top 100 listing of beauty makers for 2015 — with sales of 4.52 billion euros, or $5.01 billion at average exchange — include Christian Dior, Guerlain, Acqua di Parma and Ole Henriksen.