ARDEN SAID TO BE ON BLOCK

NEW YORK — Unilever is negotiating to sell major portions of its Elizabeth Arden Cosmetics subsidiary, according to reports circulating in the market Wednesday.
The London-based consumer products giant is reportedly in talks to divest the Arden prestige beauty brand and the Elizabeth Taylor fragrance business, which includes the Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds women’s scent. The name of the possible buyer that has surfaced is French Fragrances Inc. of Miami Lakes, Fla., which reportedly is a distributor of some Arden fragrances. The purchase price is reportedly $300 million.
According to the reports, some of the Arden subsidiary’s remaining business — namely fragrance licenses from Karl Lagerfeld, Nino Cerruti, Valentino and Chloe — would be transferred to the recently formed Unilever Cosmetics International.
Peter Midwood, president of Arden, was in Europe Wednesday and could not be reached for comment. Geoffrey Peasland, vice president of global marketing, pointed out that the financially troubled Arden has been the target of recurrent divestiture speculation over the past few years. “These rumors have been around a lot,” he said. “They’ve been going around in various forms and this is the latest one. I cannot comment on any rumors.”
A spokesman at French Fragrances said he couldn’t comment on rumors. Paulanne Mancuso, president of Unilever Cosmetics International, could not be reached at press time Wednesday.

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