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Shiseido to Sell Laura Mercier, BareMinerals, Buxom to PE Firm Advent International

The private equity buyer also owns Olaplex.

Advent International has signed a deal to buy BareMinerals, Laura Mercier and Buxom from Shiseido Americas. 

Advent will buy the brands through a new holding company, AI Beauty Holdings Ltd., for $700 million. Industry sources said the three brands together have around $650 million in sales.

WWD reported that the three makeup brands were up for sale in April. Shiseido has been shedding assets to focus on core categories, including skin care, and also recently sold its personal care assets to CVC. 

Advent, which owns fast-growing hair business Olaplex, will seek to grow the makeup brands, which had struggled to find growth under Shiseido’s ownership. 

Tricia Glynn, partner at Advent, said she sees potential in all three brands, and that the firm will rely on its operating partners, portfolio support group and digital resources to help them achieve global growth. 

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“There’s really positive indicators of renewed demand for color cosmetics in beauty, and we think this will only intensify going forward,” Glynn said. “This was, in our view, a truly unique opportunity to invest in color [at] scale and really, at the heart of it, to invest in these three brands.” 

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The investment also reunites Laura Mercier with its founder, Janet Gurwitch, who is an operating partner at Advent and plans to be involved with the business, she said. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for all three brands. We’re going to pay great attention, invest in each brand and expand the audience,” Gurwitch said.

Glynn said there is a “huge opportunity to grow coming out of the pandemic,” as demand for beauty products and self care continues. “We’re going to invest behind innovation in all three brands and think there can be tremendous growth opportunities ahead in product for each of these three businesses.” 

Advent will also aim to scale the brands’ digital operations, as well as expand globally. “There’s an opportunity to be more truly global than they are today,” Glynn said.

Pascal Houdayer has been appointed chief executive officer for the new AI Beauty business. In a statement, he said he sees “tremendous opportunity in what we can achieve together in color cosmetics as an independent business.” 

Advent plans to keep the BareMinerals, Laura Mercier and Buxom teams in place, Glynn said, as well as recruit talent for the business. 

“We’re buying brands that are distinct brands, but we are setting up a new company around those brands, so we will be hiring additional executives,” she said. 

The deal is expected to close by yearend. 

“In the near term, we’re focused on setting up the company for success, pursuing organic growth in these businesses and navigating in the pandemic. But at the appropriate time, frankly, as soon as we’re ready, the company will pursue M&A [merger and acquisition] opportunities to continue to scale. We see this not just as an opportunity for these three brands, but to build a modern beauty company at scale,” Glynn said.

Shiseido Americas president, CEO and global M&A leader Ron Gee said the company “remains focused on strengthening our competitive advantage as a skin beauty company.” 

Masahiko Uotani, president and CEO of Shiseido Group, added: “While BareMinerals, Buxom and Laura Mercier have been a core part of our portfolio and have benefitted from Shiseido’s stewardship to date, we believe Advent is uniquely positioned to continue supporting all three brands alongside their talented teams moving forward.”

Uotani added that he’s confident in the company’s remaining brands, including Shiseido, Clé de Peau Beauté, NARS, Drunk Elephant and the fragrance brands. “We remain focused on making strategic investments across the portfolio and exploring other potential opportunities that fit into our premium skin beauty and global growth objectives,” he said.

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