Most previously Lise Watier Cosmétiques was majority owned by Imperial Capital, an investment fund out of Ontario that, 9 years ago, purchased an 85% stake in the company in a multi-million dollar deal.
It’s good for the brand story—a local company launched by a woman who became one of the country’s preeminent businesspeople and built the beauty brand from the ground up.
And Watier herself seems pleased that the deal brings the company home, even though she hasn’t been CEO since 2013. Commenting to press about the acquisition, she says, “It’s good news….When we were bought by a group from Toronto, [Ontario,] I was very disappointed that Quebec was not there.”
Products that deliver
Groupe Marcelle didn’t acquire Lise Watier Cosmétiques simply to finesse a good brand story. As Watier explained in a recent interview with Tracey Lindeman for the Montreal Gazette, it’s the products themselves that resonate with consumers and keep the brand competitive after nearly 45 years.
“It’s creativity and quality. I think creativity, because it has to be exciting, it has to be fun. I love to create,” said Watier. “And the quality was a factor. If you buy a product once and you don’t like the quality, you forget about this company. We’re the number-one cosmetic line at Jean Coutu — this is not happening because it’s my name. This is happening because it’s the quality, it’s the creativity, it responds to women’s needs.”
A grand plan
The established beauty brand is a smart addition for Groupe Marcelle, as the cosmetics manufacturer positions itself to compete with top beauty makers around the globe.
First things first: “Through this transaction, Groupe Marcelle will become the leading Canadian company in the beauty industry,” says David Cape, president of Groupe Marcelle, in a company press release about the acquisition.
And, he affirms, “it brings us one step closer to reaching our ambitious objective of becoming one of the 100 largest global cosmetics manufacturers."
Groupe Marcelle’s acquisition of Lise Watier Cosmétiques was facilitated in part by La Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec, a pension fund management firm. The fund paid Groupe Marcelle $18m for an unspecified stake of its business.
The fund's executives are confident in the investment. "This $18-million investment by la Caisse will bring together two high-quality Québec companies to create a new industry champion," Christian Dubé, executive vice-president of Québec at la Caisse, says in the press release.
"Groupe Marcelle has demonstrated, over the years, its ability to innovate constantly and develop new products. This investment is perfectly aligned with our strategy of furthering the growth of innovative and high-performing companies, while generating attractive returns for our clients," he adds.
No other financial details of the transaction have been disclosed.