KAO ACQUIRES KMS: Tokyo-based Kao Corp. has agreed to acquire KMS Research Inc., the Redding, Calif.-based professional hair care manufacturer, and its manufacturing and distribution partner in Europe, KMS Research Laboratories Limited. Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed, however KMS U.S. president, Jamey Mazzotta, is stepping down. According to industry sources, KMS generates $100 million in worldwide sales to salons each year. The acquisition of KMS, or Kinetic Molecular Systems, is being made through Kao’s wholly owned subsidiary, Goldwell GmbH in Germany, and is expected to be completed later this month.
REIGNING IN TE TAO: After failing to gain considerable distribution in the U.S. mass market, the U.S. marketing and licensing rights for shampoo and body care brand Te Tao will now be handled by the White Rain Co. Te Tao, which launched in several hundred U.S. drugstores in August 2000 — Harmon Drug and Longs Drug Stores are its core retailers — has sold its licensing and marketing rights to the maker of White Rain and Dippity Do, said White Rain chief executive officer Bruce Travis. White Rain plans to fully support the line, which positions itself as a Chinese herbal remedy brand, with print advertising and retailer incentives. Travis expects the line to begin distribution in drug, mass and food stores nationwide in June and to generate between $4 million and $8 million in sales its first six months on shelves.