Natura Announces Strategic Investment in Aesop

Brazilian beauty company Natura Cosméticos S.A. and Australia-based beauty company Aesop announced they have entered into a definitive agreement, under which Natura will acquire a 65% stake in Aesop for approximately AUD $68 million in cash, which includes the anticipated acquisition of Aesop’s distributors.

Established in Melbourne in 1987, Aesop’s mission is to create a range of products for the skin, hair and body, using both plant-based and laboratory-made ingredients of the highest quality and proven efficacy. Today, Aesop operates more than 60 retail locations in 11 countries, and is expected to generate approximately 64 million AUD in pro-forma sales in the fiscal year ending June 2013.

The investment by Natura will support Aesop’s current management team as they accelerate the growth of the brand internationally. Aesop will continue to be headed by its current CEO, Michael O’Keeffe, and will remain headquartered in Melbourne. Aesop’s founder Dennis Paphitis also will remain involved with the company as an advisor following the close of the transaction, which is expected to occur shortly, pending customary closing conditions. Harbert Australia Private Equity will exit its investment in Aesop as part of this transaction.

Upon closing, Natura and Aesop will continue to operate independently, but both organizations will be committed to sharing competencies and regional expertise that longer-term could lead to Aesop potentially entering the Brazilian market and Natura exploring the concept of signature stores in select markets.

Alessandro Carlucci, CEO of Natura, said, “We have great respect for Aesop and are delighted to be partnering with an such an innovative organization that shares our values, vision and commitment to using the highest-quality botanical ingredients. The investment in Aesop is consistent with our long-term strategy of aligning with world-class brands with strong value propositions, and exposure to markets beyond Latin America.”

Carlucci continued, “We look forward to supporting Aesop’s talented management team, led by Michael O’Keeffe, who have created a powerful global brand and product offering supported by unique and compelling signature stores and retail environments. We expect to leverage these competencies as we evaluate expansion into additional markets and seek to build a truly global brand. Importantly, Natura and Aesop will operate as independent companies and brands, and Natura remains fully committed to the direct selling channel in Latin America, which continues to gain market share and expand globally.”

Aesop CEO O'Keeffe said, “We are excited to partner with Natura, a company with similar brand attributes and a culture dedicated to improving the lives of its people and communities where it operates. In addition to shared corporate philosophies and values, we even feel the Brazilian-Australian fit is just right—both organizations originated from cultures that celebrate the philosophy of a sound mind in a healthy body. This is a perfect fit with tremendous potential.”

O’Keeffe concluded, “Aesop has great momentum, and with Natura’s support and resources we will be able to accelerate and crystalize our vision. We recently opened our 61st store, located in San Francisco, California. We are enthusiastic to beginning this partnership with Natura, share ideas and knowledge, and further enrich the experiences of our employees and customers.”

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