L’Oreal buys Australian brand Aesop in $2.5bn deal

April 5, 2023

French personal care company L’Oreal has agreed to buy Australian skincare brand Aesop in a deal worth US$2.53 billion (£2 billion), reports the BBC.

The brand is a “superb combination of urbanity, hedonism, and undeniable luxury,” L’Oreal Chief Executive Nicolas Hieronimus said.

Since its founding 36 years ago, Aesop has developed a cult following around the world for its products including soaps, lotions, and creams. Aesop has nearly 400 stores globally.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

Hieronimus said that L’Oreal will help Aesop to expand in China, where it opened its first store in 2022. “Aesop taps into all of today’s ascending currents and L’Oreal will contribute to unleash its massive potential, notably in China and travel retail,” he added.

Brazilian cosmetics company Natura & Co bought a majority stake in Aesop in 2012, before taking full ownership of the brand four years later. It became Natura’s highest revenue earner over the decade between 2012 and 2022. Aesop, gross sales jumped from US$28 million to US$537 million during the period.

Aesop was founded in 1987 by hairdresser Dennis Paphitis, who had started blending essential oils into products at his salon in Melbourne, Australia. As demand grew, he developed samples for customers. Paphitis eventually named his brand after the famous Greek fabulist and storyteller Aesop.

Natura Chief Executive Fábio Barbosa said the company would now focus on improving its other businesses, including UK High Street chain The Body Shop, which it bought from L’Oreal in 2017.

“We are confident that Aesop’s growth story will continue under the ownership of L’Oreal and wish Aesop continued success in this new chapter,” Barbosa added.

Research contact: @BBC