Estée Lauder is “not for sale”
“The Estee Lauder Companies is not for sale,” said Fabrizio Freda and William P. Lauder on Sunday in an internal memo obtained by the Wall Street Journal. The CEO and executive chairman of the board of directors of the American cosmetics company thus put an end to rumors and speculations of possible offers from French brand L'Oréal and Dutch brand Unilever.
In its weekend edition, the London Times said that Goldman Sachs and Evercore had been mandated to evaluate different options. The British newspaper also indicated that discussions with the L'Oreal group had allegedly progressed to an offer $122.80 a share, valuing Estée Lauder at $45 billion, or four times its turnover.
Fabrizio Freda William P. Lauder wrote in the memo that the Lauder Family and the board "place great value in remaining independent. Our company is strong and we have excellent momentum going forward." The Lauder family owns 40 percent of Estee Lauder Companies total common stock, and about 87 percent of the voting power, according to corporate company website.
Indeed, in its last fiscal year, the group owning MAC, Smashbox, Becca, La Mer, Too Faced and Bobbi Brown achieved sales of 11.82 billion dollars (10 billion euros), up 5 percent compared to the previous year, registering a two-point increase above the industry average. In May 2016, Estée Lauder announced a restructuring plan with 1,200 job cuts. In its 2018 financial year, the group now expects growth of 8 and 9 percent.
Such buyout rumors, however, are not surprising. In recent years, big companies have been scooping up brands, creating a highly competitive environment. Estée Lauder recently acquired Becca, Too Faced and just last June, Deciem, creating a portfolio of brands with a strong identity and popular with "milennials," no doubt causing some jealously in the industry.
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