Iconic Australian beauty brand Aēsop has been snapped up by French-owned industry giant L’Oréal for $3.72billion (AUD).
L’Oréal announced their acquisition of the luxury brand, known for its skincare and haircare products, on Tuesday after reaching an agreement with former company Natura & Co.
Nicolas Hieronimus, Chief Executive Officer, L’Oréal Groupe revealed the group have plans to expand the luxury brand’s reach across China.
While the team at Natura & Co announced the deal means they will have freed up enough cash to expand their other brands Avon and The Body Shop across Latin America.
Aēsop was launched by Melbourne hairdresser Dennis Paphitis in 1987, and became well known in the luxury space as well as being respected as one of the top vegan products on the market.
L’Oréal have acquired Aēsop for $3.72billion (AUD) in landmark deal
Last year the brand reported $791million in sales, worldwide, revealing it operates 400 points of sale across the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia,
Mr Hieronimus said LOréal will contribute to unleash Aēsop’s massive growth potential, ‘notably in China and travel retail’.
‘Aēsop is the epitome of avant-garde beauty, whose products are not only made with great care and exceptional attention to detail; they are a superb combination of urbanity, hedonism and undeniable luxury,’ he said.
Cyril Chapuy, President of L’Oréal Luxe, also commented on the take over, admitting he was excited to include the Aussie-grown company under his umbrella of brands.
‘Aēsop holds a very unique positioning on the global luxury beauty market thanks to its design led brand essence, its highly efficacious and sensorial products as well as its customer-obsessed retail philosophy,’ he said.
Members of the Aēsop team will also move over to the LOréal group, which has a global workforce of over 87k people.
‘We look forward to welcoming Aēsop’s CEO Michael O’Keeffe and his experienced and passionate teams to continue to grow together the brand’s remarkable potential, by carrying on cultivating its uniqueness and its values,’ Mr Chapuy said.
Fábio Barbosa, Chief Executive Officer of Natura & Co, a Brazilian company said the sale of Aēsop marks a new development cycle for the company.
The brand was previously owned by Brazillian brand Natura & Co who snapped it up for $68million in 2012
‘We will be able to sharpen its focus on its strategic priorities, notably our investment plan in Latin America.
‘We will also be able to concentrate on continuing to improve The Body Shop’s business and refocusing Avon International’s footprint.’
Natura & Co bought Aēsop in 2012 for $68million.
Rumours Natura was ‘looking to sell’ started to circulate in late 2022, before the Bank of America and Morgan Stanley were appointed to find buyers.
LVMH, the luxury goods empire controlled the world’s richest person, Bernard Arnault and the Japanese makeup and fragrance brand Shiseido Co were rumoured to be interested in the company as well.
LOréal leadership team also revealed they are looking forward to adding more brands to their ‘billionaires club’ in the future.
The sale of Aēsop flags increased interest in Australian-grown products.
Last year Australian owned food brands Four’N’Twenty, Nanna’s baked goods and Lean Cuisine were sold to Hong Kong based firm PAG.
Iconic Australian-grown companies which are now foreign-owned:
Nanna’s baked goods
Carlton and United Breweries, the brand behind Victoria Bitter, Carlton Draught, Cascade and Crown Lager was bought out by a Japanese company in 2020 for $16billion.
Schweppes Australia and even Cottees cordial are also owned by the Asahi Beverages Group.
In 2019 Arnott’s – the company behind many iconic biscuits – was sold to American group Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
The sale of iconic Australian brands isn’t new.
in the 1990s Speedos were taken over by the UK based Pentland group.
David Jones, Country Road, Billabong, Quicksilver and Roxy are also foreign owned.