Unilever, Puig Vie With Makeup Giants to Buy Charlotte Tilbury

(Bloomberg) -- Consumer giant Unilever Plc and the Spanish company behind Paco Rabanne perfumes are among beauty heavyweights competing to buy celebrity makeup brand Charlotte Tilbury.

L’Oreal SA of France, Estée Lauder Cos. in New York and Japanese beauty company Shiseido Co. also made bids for the London-based brand, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. The company could fetch more than 1 billion pounds ($1.2 billion), they said.

In addition to Unilever, which has been scooping up premium beauty brands, and private company Puig, which also sells Jean Paul Gaultier and Nina Ricci perfumes, several private equity firms have also shown interest, the people said.

Charlotte Tilbury is working with advisers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Jefferies Financial Group Inc., the people said. The company could choose a winning bidder as early as May, they said.

No final decisions have been made and the discussions may not materialize into a transaction, the people said. Representatives for L’Oreal, Unilever, Shiseido and the banks declined to comment. Estee Lauder, Puig and Charlotte Tilbury couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

The Tilbury sale comes at a time when big beauty companies have been on an acquisition spree, as they seek to court younger shoppers with upstart brands. A successful sale would show that large consumer companies still have an appetite to acquire independent brands despite the coronavirus pandemic, which has ended a decades-long boom in deals.

Henkel AG and KKR & Co. are among suitors for Coty Inc.’s professional hair and nail products business, which could be worth as much as $8 billion, Bloomberg News reported in March. Estee Lauder agreed to buy the two-thirds of Have & Be Co., the South Korean owner of Dr. Jart+ cosmetics, that it didn’t already own for about $1.1 billion last year.

Charlotte Tilbury, a London-born makeup artist who grew up around creative types on the Spanish island of Ibiza, founded her namesake brand in 2013. She made her name working with supermodels such as Kate Moss and actresses like Penelope Cruz.

The company, which received an investment from venture capital firm Sequoia Capital in 2017, is famous for products such as Magic Cream moisturizer and Pillow Talk lipstick.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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