The year 2011 will be remembered as a fairly active one when it comes to the acquisition of brands found in beauty retailers. And where there are new owners, there are new opportunities created. So here’s a look at what happened in the beauty-retail landscape this year through mid-October. And from what we at Beauty Store Business see and hear, deals will continue into 2012. Therefore, other opportunities will develop for you, so stay turned.
In January, Robanda International—owner of Mr. Pumice, Tropical Shine Nail File and other beauty brands—announced that it acquired Omega Labs USA, whose products include Fungus Treatment, Ultimate Growth 2, nail art and nail glitters.
“There’s ample opportunity to develop the Omega Labs brands in the OTC marketplace internationally and drive business in the nail category where Robanda already has a strong presence with the Mr. Pumice and Tropical Shine brands,” said David Leib, Robanda International president, when the deal was announced. “This was an organic expansion for us in the nail category, and we look forward to an exciting year of growth worldwide.”
Omega Labs USA’s previous owner, Bill Homaidan, remained with the company, taking the lead with product development. The company also said it planned to launch a new website, catalog, packaging and product introductions.
robanda.com, omegalabsusa.com, 800.783.9969
In February, Fisk Industries announced that it bought the Barielle line of nail, skin and footcare solutions, stating that the company wanted to expand its distribution worldwide.
“We’re thrilled with the acquisition, and will continue to market it as a prestige line available in the finest stores,” Fisk Industries president Stephen Adler told BSB immediately after the announcement.
Barielle launched 30 years ago with its original nail-strengthening cream, which was developed for the hooves of million-dollar racehorses. When it was discovered that the jockeys who applied the cream also had improved nails, the product was reformulated for women and men.
The line now includes a variety of creams and lacquers that are formulated to address weak, discolored, splitting and hard-to-grow nails. The formulation uses keratin, protein, vitamins, oil and plant extracts, and does not contain formaldehyde, toluene or dibutyl phthalate. And the Shades by Barielle nail-polish collection provides new trends in color.
The company exhibited at Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna 2011 in Italy and at Cosmoprof North America 2011 in Las Vegas, picking up more distributors for its newest line.
In February, American International Industries announced that it bought the It’s So Easy Nails brand.
The line offers products for nail-art applications and includes loose glitters, cracked ice flakes, foil polish, sealer and dryer, cuticle oil, brushes and body glue.
aiibeauty.com, soeasynails.com, 323.728.2999
Luxury-products group LVMH Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton announced in February that it acquired skincare company Ole Henriksen.
“Ole Henriksen has developed a unique skincare brand with great consumer appeal and clear prospects for continued success,” said Antonio Belloni, LVMH group managing director, when the announcement was made. “We are proud to welcome Ole Henriksen into the LVMH family and participate in the next phase of its development. In particular, Ole Henriksen will benefit from working closely with Sephora—our fast-growing, global prestige-beauty retailer—to accelerate the brand’s worldwide expansion.”
When it was bought, Ole Henriksen products were being sold at Sephora as well as spas and select beauty stores in 22 countries.
Skincare specialist Ole Henriksen created the brand in 1985, following studies in cosmetic chemistry and hands-on experience treating celebrities at his Los Angeles spa.
After the acquisition, he remained the brand’s visionary/creative director, and the company’s headquarters stayed in Los Angeles.
A new CEO—who will report to CEO and president of Sephora Americas David Suliteanu—is expected to be appointed, said the company when it announced the deal.
In February, A.I.I. said it acquired certain assets from Almell Products, including the Poshé trademark and patents.
Poshé is a professional line of nailcare and treatment products. It’s a logical approach to creating strong, flexible nails based on the science of the natural nail, noted A.I.I. in its announcement.
The addition of Poshé rounds out a nail category that already includes the Checi, China Glaze, EzFlow, Gena, ibd, It’s So Easy, ProLinc, Seche and SuperNail brands, added the company.
In May, investment firm TSG Consumer Partners announced that it purchased Sexy Hair Concepts, the 13-year-old marketer of haircare products distributed through professional salons.
“Sexy Hair is one of the fastest-growing haircare brands in the professional-beauty industry and is now sold in about 60,000 professional salons worldwide,” said Brian Krumrei, a TSG principal. “The company has outperformed the market over the past two years, achieving 30% year-over-year growth in the first quarter of 2011. We are especially pleased to partner with the company’s existing experienced management team led by [president and CEO] Karl-Heinz Pitsch.”
Pitsch noted when the announcement was made: “TSG has the expertise and support to help SHC pursue inherent growth opportunities based on continued dedication to top quality products, education and a lot of fun.”
SHC offers six lines and about 70 products addressing specific hair type, texture, length and style, and the brand is a favorite among Hollywood’s leading entertainment-industry stylists.
At the time of the announcement, TSG’s other current beauty and personal-care investments included Alterna hair care, Kenra hair care, NV Perricone skin care, e.l.f. cosmetics and Pevonia skin care. Prior beauty investments have included Smashbox cosmetics and Pureology hair care.
In May, Unilever announced that it acquired Alberto Culver for $3.7 billion after receiving the necessary regulatory clearances. The company originally announced the acquisition in September 2010.
“This acquisition is a further step in Unilever’s transformation,” said CEO Paul Polman when the acquisition was completed. “The deal enhances Unilever’s presence in attractive, high-growth categories and brings a portfolio of desirable brands that are gaining share. It also gives Unilever the opportunity to use its scale, reach and technology to take Alberto Culver’s brands to a new level in existing markets, and enables us to use our unparalleled presence in emerging markets to extend them further.”
With the acquisition, Unilever became the world’s leading company in hair conditioning, the second largest in shampoo and the third largest in styling.
The acquisition of Alberto Culver brings together an impressive range of brands such as TRESemmé, Nexxus, Motions, St. Ives and Simple with Unilever’s existing portfolio of brands, including Dove, Clear, Suave, TIGI (Bed Head, Catwalk and S-Factor) and Sunsilk in hair care as well as Pond’s and Vaseline in skin care.
Under the terms of its agreement it announced with the U.S. Department of Justice, Unilever had to divest the Alberto VO5 brand in the United States from the Alberto Culver portfolio and the Rave brand from the Unilever portfolio. In August, the company announced that it completed the sale of Alberto VO5 in the United States and Puerto Rico and the Rave brand globally to the private-equity firm Brynwood Partners. Outside the United States and Puerto Rico, the Alberto VO5 brand remains in Unilever’s portfolio.
In January 2011, Brynwood Partners announced that it acquired the rights to the Zest bar soap and body wash brand from Procter & Gamble in the U.S., Canadian and Caribbean markets via its High Ridge Brands. That company is now selling Alberto VO5 in the United States and Puerto Rico and the Rave brand globally.
In July, TPR Holdings, an investor/operator in the consumer-products industry, announced that it acquired the Freeze 24/7 skincare brand.
“We believe the Freeze 24/7 brand has strong worldwide potential,” said Brian Robinson, TPR Holdings president, when the deal was announced. “It has proven sell-through and excellent brand awareness in the prestige distribution channel. We plan on increasing innovation, expanding online presence and sharpening in-store execution efforts.”
A Cosmetic Executive Women’s Beauty Award winner, Freeze 24/7 uses a complex blend of unique ingredients that produces a visible reduction in the appearance of fines lines and wrinkles.
TPR’s target investments include mass and prestige opportunities in health, wellness, beauty and fragrances. Previously, TPR acquired the cause-related beauty license for Susan G. Komen for the Cure as well as a controlling interest in Oscar Blandi Hair Care Products.
Marc Birenbaum is executive editor of Beauty Store Business.