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Aēsop reportedly the subject of a £1.6 billion bidding war between cosmetic giants

Chloe Burney
01 February 2023

LVMH, L’Oréal, and Shiseido Co are reportedly in a £1.6 billion ($2 billion) bidding war for the Australian luxury beauty brand Aēsop.

Aēsop, a natural cosmetics skin-care company, is wanted by LVMH, the luxury empire that’s controlled the world’s richest man, Bernard Arnault. Also in the fight to the finish is L’Oréal, the world’s largest cosmetics company, and the Japanese makeup brand Shiseido Co.

Aēsop was founded by the Melbourne-based hairdresser Dennis Paphitis in 1987 and has been majority-owned by the Brazilian cosmetics multinational Natura & Co for over a decade.

The Body Shop and Aēsop owner, Natura, appointed Bank of America and Morgan Stanley to explore the possibility of selling a stake in the brand.

Aēsop, which retails at 320 shops in 25 countries, is a popular addition to curated homes and well-established restaurants.

Paphitis began the company after blending essential oils into his hair products. He originally named the business Emeis, which is the Greek for “us” but renamed it to Aēsop two years later in 1989.

The news follows Natura & Co’s corporate reorganisation, which saw roles including Sustainable Growth Officer and Chief Transformation Officer no longer exist in the new structure.

At the time, the group said: "Despite the challenging times the world is facing, we trust in the strength of our purpose, and support the restructuring of our group, with more autonomy and accountability for each of our businesses."

The group's CEO and Chairman, Roberto Marques, also stepped down earlier this year and was replaced by Fabio Barbosa.

Aēsop reported a 21.5% increase in net revenue during Q3, with all regions except Europe delivering double-digit growth.

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