Jun 11, 2019
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Unilever buys Tatcha as prestige beauty acquisition spree continues

Jun 11, 2019

The biggest names in beauty are all in a race at present to not only achieve organic growth but to buy-in growth and to snap up the most dynamic brands globally. Anglo-Dutch consumer-products giant Unilever is one of the most active names in that race and its latest big buy is J-Beauty brand Tatcha.


It has bought the 10-year-old Japanese-American company that has made an impact through its prestige skincare products based on ingredients identified strongly with Japan such as green tea, rice and algae.

The company has been riding a powerful wave of Asian beauty with both Korean and Japanese brands in high demand globally.

With expected sales this year estimated to be between $70 million and $100 million, the brand is giving many of the popular K-Beauty bands a run for their money at the moment and is a favourite at retailer Sephora.

The company was founded by Vicky Tsai in San Francisco and has a Japanese innovation Centre, trading heavily on the current appeal of all-things Japanese as well as the dynamism that can be seen at founder-led businesses coming out of California at present.

So its appeal to Unilever is very clear, although we don't know just how much it was prepared to pay as a purchase price wasn't disclosed. However, reports have estimated that it paid $500 million for the privilege of bringing Tatcha into its fast-expanding portfolio.

As mentioned, Unilever has been a big buyer of dynamic and disruptive brands of late and it has acquired Garancia, REN, Murad, Hourglass, and Dermalogica, among others. It has also been launching its own new names, such as the Love Beauty and Planet label, and supporting companies in their early stages through its Unilever Ventures arm.

Other big names have also been extremely acquisitive with Natura taking on The Body Shop and Avon, Estée Lauder Cos buying Becca, Rodin, Le Labo, Glamglow and Too Faced, and L’Oréal buying CeraVe, Atelier Cologne and It Cosmetics. 

Unilever, which also has a major presence in mass-market beauty via brands such as Dove and Sunsilk, has shown itself to be prepared to stump up big money to achieve its acquisition aims. It has been rumoured to be eyeing Drunk Elephant for around $1 billion and it paid just that amount in 2016 when it acquired Dollar Shave Club.

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