NEW YORK — Procter & Gamble Co. jumped into the red-hot, burgeoning dermatological skin care business Monday by disclosing that it has acquired HDS Cosmetics Lab Inc., the marketer of Doctor’s Dermatologic Formula, or DDF, skin care.

The brand, which was founded in 1991 by New York dermatologist Howard Sobel and nutritional consultant Elaine Linker, was purchased from North Castle Partners, a private investment firm that bought HDS in April 2004.

The terms of the sale to P&G were not disclosed.Market sources estimated, however, that P&G paid $50 million to over $90 million, based on three to four times sales.

P&G was motivated by a desire to expand and extend its reach into the prestige beauty market. DDF, which is now based in Yonkers, N.Y., will become part of the P&G Global Skincare division of the Cincinnati, Ohio, based consumer products giant.

Paolo deCesare, president of the skin care division, said the acquisition fits into the corporate vision of pursuing skin care as a key growth category. Speaking by phone from his office in Geneva, Switzerland, DeCesare described the move as plugging “the sweet spot” between the division’s two existing treatment brands, the mass market giant Olay and the high-priced, high-octane SK-II.“We are looking for opportunities to expand our portfolio to reach new consumers,” he said, adding that the acquisition will sit comfortably between the two existing brands in terms of price point, distribution and consumer profile.

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