Harper was one of the early players in the luxury natural skin care sector and the acquisition gives Amorepacific entry into the clean and green categories, plus a stronger foothold in the North American market.
An engineer by trade, the Colombian-born Harper was inspired to create the brand in 2010 after her uncle was diagnosed with cancer. At the time, she’s said, she could buy natural personal-care products at Whole Foods, but she wanted a more high-tech offering for eye creams and serums.
Harper grew many of her own ingredients and formulated products on her Vermont farm, and was an early adopter of e-commerce. Today, retailers include Sephora, Bluemercury and Neiman Marcus, as well as Net-a-porter and Cult Beauty.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the brand, which received a minority investment from Alliance Consumer Growth in 2015, had reported sales of between $60 million and $65 million in 2017.
“Tata Harper is a clean beauty brand instilled with the core values of healthy beauty, values that society and consumers are looking for today,” said Jinpyo Lee, chief strategy officer of the Amorepacific Group. “Fueled by our R&D and P&L infrastructure, we expect Tata Harper will be able to significantly expand its footprint in the Western and Asian markets.”
Amorepacific, which posted sales of $4.61 billion in 2021, has been struggling to restore business to pre-pandemic levels. The company has been working to shift its focus away from sagging retail channels in its home market, and to grow its online business.
In China, which accounts for the vast majority of its overseas sales, its two key brands, Sulwhasoo and Laneige, gained double digits in 2021 thanks to a digital push. In North America, the group launched Laneige and Innisfree on Amazon.
The strategy seems to be working. For the second quarter of this year, sales in North America grew 66 percent, led by Laneige, Sulwhasoo and Innisfree.
Harper, who founded the brand with her former husband Henry, will continue to lead the brand. “Our approach to formulation, including full control of manufacturing, has allowed us to pioneer the next generation of beauty,” she said in a statement. “I look forward to leveraging Amorepacific’s expertise to drive growth and continue to serve our customers.”
UBS Investment Bank and K&L Gates acted as Amorepacific’s financial and legal advisers for the transaction. Goldman Sachs & Co. and Arnold & Porter were Tata Harper’s financial and legal advisers. The deal is expected to close by yearend 2022.