From KKR to KKW.
Coty Inc. has signed a licensing deal with Kim Kardashian West and is paying $200 million for a 20 percent stake in her existing beauty business, which consists of color cosmetics and fragrance.
The licensing agreement covers categories that Kardashian West hasn’t yet entered, including skin care, which will be the initial focus, personal-care products, hair care and nail.
While a partnership between Coty and Kardashian West isn’t a surprise — WWD reported in early June the two parties were in talks and the beauty manufacturer Seed Beauty filed a lawsuit a week ago to try to block the brand from leaking trade secrets — the scope of the deal is smaller than the one that Coty inked with Kardashian-West’s sister, Kylie Jenner, last November. In that deal, Coty bought a 51 percent stake in Kylie Cosmetics for $600 million.
“This deal is similar to the one that Coty did with Kylie. The only difference is that Coty is taking a smaller position in Kim’s investment vehicle,” said Peter Harf, chief executive officer of Coty, in an exclusive statement to WWD.
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Harf noted the company has no plans for additional deals now that this one is finalized. “We now have to execute and realize the immense potential of Kim and Kylie,” he said.
The deal is the latest salvo by Coty to meaningfully transform its business since its 2016 $12.5 billion acquisition of the majority of Procter & Gamble’s beauty brands. The integration and turnaround for of the P&G brands, many of which were in worse shape than Coty initially believed, was more difficult than initially envisioned, however.
While the last few years have seen a series of rapid-fire leadership changes — with four ceo’s in as many years — more recently, things have started to stabilize. In May, Coty inked a deal with private equity giant KKR, which took a 60 percent stake in Wella and bought $750 million in convertible preferred shares of Coty. The following month, KKR took 60 percent ownership of Coty’s professional hair care business and invested $1 billion in Coty through the issuance of convertible preferred shares.
Simultaneously, Harf, the founding partner of Coty’s majority owner JAB and ceo of Coty from 1990 to 2001, returned to the company as ceo. “I’ve known Coty for a long time and there is a lot of potential within this company,” he said.
His return to the business may have been instrumental for this deal. On a call with Wall Street analyst in June, Harf said he was “good friends” with matriarch Kris Jenner, after working together on the Kylie deal.
“I’m very proud that the Jenner family is working with us and [we] have access to them and to all other people are big opinion leaders on social media,” he said.
Indeed, Kardashian-West has 300 million followers across social media platforms. She created her beauty company in 2017, with a crème contour and highlighting kit which cost $48 and was said to have sold 300,00 units in less than five minutes.
Harf said the deal was put together by himself, Kardashian West, her mother, Kris Jenner, and Tiger Chark ceo Lisa Manice.