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Estée Lauder Stock Steady Despite Unilever Takeover Rumors

Lauder’s stock is rising in line with months of positive momentum.

Estée Lauder Cos.’ stock remained on steady ground even with rumblings of a possible merger with Unilever.

Shares of the company rose a relatively mild 0.95 percent to $107.02 during the afternoon. While this is just below an all-time high, the increase is well in line with the upward momentum Lauder has been seeing since late last year.

A company spokesperson declined to comment on recent rumors that there is a deal with Unilever in the works.  A representative of Unilever could not be reached.

A takeover by Unilever seems improbable considering the Lauder family owns 87 percent of the company’s stock, which is performing better than ever given a recent wave of positive results and a broader boom in the prestige beauty industry.

One source characterized the deal to WWD as “pure speculation” and noted any merger would be a benefit to Unilever, “not Lauder.”

For its full fiscal year, net sales at the company grew 5 percent to $11.82 billion on net earnings of $1.25 billion, a 12 percent increase over the year prior.  

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Brands in  Lauder’s ranks include M.A.C., Smashbox, Becca, La Mer, Too Faced, Tom Ford and Bobbi Brown, among others.

Too Faced and Becca, which Lauder acquired in 2016, drove sales in makeup for the year, which also showed double-digit gains for Tom Ford in every region. Smashbox, La Mer and Estée Lauder posted double-digit increases as well.

Fragrance performed well, too, with double-digit gains for Jo Malone London, Tom Ford and Le Labo.

Chief executive officer Fabrizio Freda discussed the results last week and said the positive momentum is set to continue through fiscal 2018, which is projected to see sales growth of 8 to 9 percent.

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