Estée Lauder completes acquisition of increased stake in Deciem
American beauty conglomerate The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. (ELC) announced on Tuesday that it has increased its share in Deciem Beauty Group Inc., the Canadian owner of brands including The Ordinary and Niod, from 29% to a controlling stake of approximately 76%.
The move is the first phase of an agreement that will ultimately see New York-based ELC acquire all remaining interests of the disruptive cosmetics company over a three-year period.
When it was first announced in February of this year, the price for this initial transaction was given as $1 billion. According to Estée Lauder, the cost of the future acquisitions foreseen by the agreement will be set in accordance with Deciem’s performance moving forward.
Founded by the late Brandon Truaxe in 2013, Deciem is now led by co-founder Nicola Kilner, who took over as CEO in 2018, when Truaxe was ousted from the company following increasingly erratic behavior. Describing itself as “the abnormal beauty company,” the vertically integrated group is known for its disruptive community-focused approach, constructed around the principles of accessibility, transparency and authenticity.
The Toronto-based group’s portfolio is currently made up of six brands. These include skincare businesses The Ordinary, Niod, Hylamide and The Chemistry Brand, as well as haircare label Hif.
The partnership between ELC and Deciem first began in 2017. At the time, Truaxe published an open letter seeking to reassure Deciem’s community of passionate fans that the relationship between the two companies would not change the values that his business and its customers held dear.
“While I do sincerely believe that ELC has embraced everything about us, the facts are nonetheless very clear: they have a minority shareholding position; they do not control our decisions or dictate our direction,” he wrote.
A lot has changed since then. In 2018, Estée Lauder took legal action against Truaxe when he tried to shut the company down until further notice, due to what he described as “major criminal activity” being carried out by employees. This ultimately led to the Deciem founder being removed both from his position as CEO and from the company’s board.
Following Truaxe’s exit from the company and his untimely death in January 2019, Kilner has worked tirelessly to bring the group back from the brink and has succeeded in transforming it into a multimillion-dollar cosmetics empire. According to ELC, Deciem achieved sales of $460 million in the fiscal year ended January 31, 2021.
As well as its flagship Estée Lauder brand, ELC also owns brands including MAC, Aramis and Clinique, as well as a vast range of beauty licenses for the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY, Michael Kors and Tom Ford.
The company reported sales of $3.86 billion in the third quarter ended March 31, 2021, up 16% from the prior-year period. Net earnings for the quarter were $456 million.
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