Unilever today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to sell its Elizabeth Arden business, brands and certain assets to FFI Fragrances based in Miami Lakes, Florida, USA, for a consideration of approximately $225 million (€268 million approx).
As part of its Path to Growth Strategy, unveiled in February 2000, Unilever announced it would re-organise or divest businesses that failed to meet its strategic requirements. It identified specifically Elizabeth Arden and the European Bakery Supplies Business (EBSB). Earlier this month Unilever completed the sale of EBSB.
Included in the sale to FFI are the Elizabeth Arden fragrances, colour and skin care brands and the White Shoulders brand. In addition, FFI will acquire the licence to Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds and Passion fragrance brands. The sale also includes related Elizabeth Arden offices and a distribution facility. In total, some 1500 employees are expected to transfer to FFI.
Unilever will retain its Prestige designer fragrance brands - Cerruti, Lagerfeld, Chloe and Valentino - which will become part of its Unilever Cosmetics International (UCI) business. UCI already manages Calvin Klein Cosmetics, Nautica and the forthcoming Vera Wang and BCBG fragrance brands.
Charles Strauss, Unilever Board Director responsible for its global Prestige business, said: "Although Elizabeth Arden has improved over the last couple of years, we feel that it can be best developed outside our business. This move fits with our Path to Growth strategy by allowing us to focus on a core group of designer fragrance brands."
"By bringing these designer fragrance brands together within UCI we will deliver faster product innovation and global brand development to build a stronger Prestige fragrance business."
The transaction, subject to customary conditions including regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed around the year end. Unilever will receive $190 million (€226 million approx) in cash and the balance in FFI convertible preferred stock. The FFI convertible preferred stock has a face value of $50 million (€60 million approx) to which Unilever ascribes a value of approximately $35 million (€42 million approx).