The Kylie-Coty dance continues.
Sources said Coty Inc.’s talks to buy a majority stake of Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics for $600 million are continuing. And chairman Peter Harf is said to be running the process on the Coty side, indicating just how seriously the company takes the talks.
Harf led Coty as chief executive officer from 1993 to 2001 and is a senior partner at JAB Cosmetics, the firm’s largest shareholder.
WWD first reported word of the potential deal on June 19. Representatives for both Coty and Jenner declined to comment on Monday.
Jenner is the youngest of the socially supercharged Kardashian-Jenner family and has rapidly made a name for herself in the beauty industry. She launched lip kits in late 2015 and moved on to Kylighter, Kyshadow and Kybrow while linking with sisters Kim Kardashian and Khloé Kardashian and racking up sales of $420 million in 18 months.
That kind of growth was guaranteed to grab attention (and Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner has been open to the idea of selling the business).
One well-placed financial source said Jenner has been making the rounds for the past two-and-a-half years and has spoken to “all of the marquee” private equity investors, feeling them out about a possible deal. Strategics also have eyed the brand, including, sources said, The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.
The source said the company’s capacity still needs to be developed and that a deal brings risks given how important Jenner is personally to the brand.
But Jenner is also seen as extremely motivated right now as she grows into the image of herself as a business titan on the cover of Forbes and the hype that goes along with headlines proclaiming her to be the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.
Coty has long been an aggressive player in the ultra-competitive game of beauty dealmaking, although it hasn’t always gotten its way. The company made an ultimately unsuccessful run at buying Avon Products Inc. for $10.7 billion in 2012.
However, Coty did close a $12.5 billion deal in 2016 that saw it absorb 41 brands from Procter & Gamble. Co. The road’s been a rocky one and the company said this month that it expects to take a $3 billion impairment charge as it seeks to turn around its business and build on brands.
Pierre Laubies, who took the reins at Coty as ceo in November, told WWD this month: “There is a direct correlation between the level of profitability generated and the strength of your brands. As a consequence, internally, we are going to be a brand-building machine. It is our bread and butter. Products sit on the shelf, brands sit in the mind — definitely we have great assets at Coty and our job is really to continue to build them, strengthen them and take care of them, and that will be the root of financial success.”
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