NEW YORK — Two industry nail care leaders are joining forces to further sharpen their position in the mass market nail care business.

This story first appeared in the November 4, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Pacific World Corp. announced exclusively to WWD that it has merged with The W.E. Bassett Co. The newly formed company will retain the Pacific World logo; currently there are no specific plant closings or employee consolidation announced. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The new company will be the fifth-largest cosmetics company in the U.S. (based on industry data) and the second-largest nail care supplier in sales in food, drug and mass behind Coty Inc., according to Symphony/IRI.

Industry sources said the companies have combined sales approaching $200 million. Pacific World is best known for nail products such as Fing’rs and Nailene. Bassett’s main brand name is Trim, although it is a leading resource for private label implements, too.

This is the latest move toward consolidation as retailers look to deal with fewer, but more powerful, vendors who have the resources to bring innovative products to the market. In fact, Coty was propelled to the number-one position with an acquisition of its own in 2007 when it bought Del Laboratories’ Sally Hansen and further ramped up by buying OPI last year.

The nail industry, in particular, has been a hot bed of mergers and acquisitions with other deals such as L’Oréal’s buy of Essie and Revlon Inc. gaining Sinful when it bought Mirage Cosmetics. According to data from Symphony/IRI Group, mass market nail care sales exceed $725 million, excluding Wal-Mart.

“The transaction with The W.E. Bassett Co. represents a merger of two strong global cosmetic accessory companies,” said Joe Fracassi, president and chief executive officer of Pacific World. “Pacific World has further solidified its leading portfolio of nail care solutions to enhance the shopping experience and provide a one-stop shop for consumers through the Fing’rs, Nailene and Trim brands.

Joel Carden, executive vice president of Pacific World, added that the merger was a good fit because the brands complement each other rather than cannibalize from existing stockkeeping units. “It gives us a way to grow our business and bring more meaningful propositions to our consumers,” he said. In particular he cited plans to step up consumer research to find products to better serve consumers.

He said both Pacific World and Bassett are category captains for many of their retail accounts. The synergy will enhance what the newly formed company can bring to the market. Also, each company has specific strongholds with different accounts, which could open up distribution opportunities.

The deal comes at a pivotal time for Pacific World as it rolls out its new SensatioNail, an at-home gel manicure set to debut soon. This at-home product dovetails with an industry trend to more do-it-yourself nail care. According to numbers provided by Pacific World, the nail care category expanded more than 16 percent between 2010 and 2011, driven by fewer salon visits and more at-home manicures. “The product portfolios of both companies are well positioned to capitalize on that trend,” said Carden.

Beyond boosting growth for both companies in the U.S., the newly formed beauty power will open up possibilities around the world with more than 70 countries served by the two brands.

This is the fourth acquisition for Pacific World in the last six years with the company also folding Fing’rs U.S., Woodward Laboratories and Fing’rs Europe into its portfolio over that time frame. Pacific World also has a licensing agreement with Revlon in the artificial nail business and artificial eyelash category. Pacific World sought to address skin care needs of younger consumers with the launch of geoGIRL earlier this year and is also the exclusive marketing/sales distributor of Bio-Oil. In total, Pacific World markets 1,181 products across six product lines in more than 81,000 retail locations worldwide.

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