LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has been on a shopping spree for niche brands with a natural bent, picking up two in the last week: Ole Henriksen and, now, Nude skin care.

This story first appeared in the February 11, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The luxury products giant has acquired a 70 percent stake in Nude, with the brand’s current shareholders retaining a 30 percent equity ownership in Nude Brands Ltd.

The four-year-old line — described as “biocompatible luxury skin care” — was founded by Bryan Meehan and Ali Hewson, wife of U2 front man Bono. Hewson, Bono and LVMH also own the eco-friendly ready-to-wear line Edun.

Nude is “proven in the U.S. and the U.K.,” said Meehan, but the plan has always been to expand globally. Currently, Nude is sold in roughly 250 doors including Space NK, Barneys New York and 25 Sephora doors.

In September, Meehan told WWD, “Beauty is controlled by a small concentration of global brands because it’s hard to be successful without scale.…From the start, you’ve got to make it a global brand. Everything has to be carefully thought out.”

His partnership with LVMH will accelerate those plans. “If you want to make a brand global, the investment is huge,” said Meehan. “If you can have an ally with a company like LVMH, it’s just a huge door opener for us.” Both Meehan and Hewson will continue in their current roles at Nude, and Meehan said there are no plans to sell the remaining 30 percent stake. “I think LVMH was attracted to the performance we’ve gotten from natural [products],” he said.

Toni Belloni, group managing director of LVMH, stated, “We believe Nude will be a global luxury skin care brand and are excited to work with Ali, Bryan and the team that they have built around them.”

Products in the line range from the $14 Nude Lips balm to the $92 Advanced Cellular Renewal Serum, with many items hovering around $60. Nude executives would not comment on sales, but industry sources said the line of less than 20 products generates between $3 million and $4 million in revenues.

Nude is the second skin care acquisition for LVMH this week. On Monday, LVMH said it had acquired luxury botanical brand Ole Henriksen.

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