Oct 8, 2019
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Shiseido taps into clean beauty as it acquires Drunk Elephant

Oct 8, 2019

Japanese beauty group Shiseido has agreed to buy American skincare specialist Drunk Elephant, one of the most popular brands in the ‘clean beauty’ movement, for about $845 million.

Drunk Elephant

The acquisition will help the Japanese company enter a rapidly growing new area of the beauty market, the so-called ‘clean beauty’ segment, which promises chemical-free, nontoxic skincare.

Drunk Elephant is perhaps one of the most well-known brands in the clean space, gaining worldwide recognition in just seven years thanks to a combination of social media activity and word-of-mouth. 

Founded in 2012 by Tiffany Masterson with a pledge to avoid the “Suspicious 6” in its products (ingredients like essential oils and fragrances which are believed the be the cause of common skin issues), the brand is expected to rack up more than $100 million in sales this year.

And now the brand is set for a further boost, with the opportunity to expand into new and existing markets both in the Americas and internationally, including Europe and Asia, with the help of Shiseido.

As part of the agreement, Drunk Elephant will operate within Shiseido Americas, and Tiffany Masterson, founder and chief creative officer will continue in her role and assume the additional role of president, reporting directly to Shiseido Americas CEO Marc Rey.

Masahiko Uotani, president and CEO of Shiseido, said: “We are thrilled to announce the acquisition of Drunk Elephant, one of the fastest-growing prestige skincare brands in history. This transaction is squarely aligned with Shiseido’s Vision 2020 goal of accelerating growth and creating value through strategic partnerships. Drunk Elephant’s approach strongly resonates with its highly engaged and loyal consumers, who value the integrity and effectiveness of Drunk Elephant’s formulations combined with a fun, curious approach.”

Tiffany Masterson, chief creative officer at Drunk Elephant, added:“I started this business as an industry outsider, and from the beginning I did things a little differently. To join with a powerhouse beauty company such as Shiseido that leads the industry in innovation and global excellence is a dream come true for me and for Drunk Elephant. We share similar values, most importantly an unwavering commitment to the consumer. I chose a partner who will let the brand continue to be itself, with the same formulations and the same team.”

Drunk Elephant joins a portfolio of beauty brands at Shiseido, including prestige skincare label  Clé de Peau Beauté, which has recently landed in the UK via Harrods. The brand, which is available across Asia-Pacific market, Canada, the US and Russia, has yet to launch in Continental Europe.

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