Masstige move? Estée Lauder to acquire Deciem in two-part deal

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Canada-headquartered Deciem has seven functional skin care brands, including The Ordinary which has a range of simple but functional face care blends (Image: Getty Images)
Canada-headquartered Deciem has seven functional skin care brands, including The Ordinary which has a range of simple but functional face care blends (Image: Getty Images)

Related tags: Estée lauder companies, Deciem, Skin care, Prestige beauty, masstige beauty, Euromonitor international, acquisition

Prestige beauty major The Estée Lauder Companies will up its investment in mass functional beauty player Deciem, establishing terms for full ownership in three years – a move that will diversify it into the increasingly important masstige market, an expert says.

Since 2017, Estée Lauder already held a 29% stake in Deciem – maker of The Ordinary and NIOD skin care brands – and would increase this to a 76% majority stake in the first phase of its acquisition, set to close end of June 2021 and cost around €823m ($1bn) to reflect a total enterprise value of €1.81bn ($2.2bn). The Estée Lauder Companies would then purchase the remaining Deciem interests after a three-year period in a second-phase investment, the cost of which was yet to be determined.

The acquisition, subject to regulatory approvals, would see Estée Lauder take on all seven of Deciem’s skin care brands: The Ordinary, NIOD, Hylamide, The Chemistry Brand, Abnomaly, Loopha and HIF, sold primarily via e-commerce and select specialty and freestanding stores in the UK, US and Canada. Deciem’s brand portfolio totted up net sales of approximately €378.5m ($460m) in the 12 months ending January 31, 2021.

Estée Lauder to acquire ‘exceptional’ portfolio of ‘high-touch’ brands

Fabrizio Freda, president and CEO of The Estée Lauder Companies, said: “The company’s hero products, desirable innovation, and digital- and consumer-first high-touch approach have been instrumental to its success.”

“…Over the last four years, we have built a truly special long-term partnership with the incredible Deciem team, and we are excited for what the future holds,”​ Freda said.

“Deciem is an exceptional company,”​ he said, with its vertically-integrated model and portfolio of “authentic brands with highly effective, must-have products” ​and “uniquely transparent and engaging communication style”.

Nicola Kilner, co-founder of Deciem, said the company’s late founder Brandon Truaxe had always hoped Estée Lauder would be “the forever home for Deciem”​ and so it was humbling to see his vision finally achieved.

Deal stretches Estée Lauder into masstige, particularly via The Ordinary

Irina Barbalova, global lead for health and beauty at Euromonitor International, said the acquisition aligned well with current beauty trends being shaped by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Deciem has a range of functional skin care brands, including The Ordinary (Image: Deciem)
Deciem has a range of functional skin care brands, including The Ordinary (Image: Deciem)

“At a time when prospects for the masstige segment are becoming more lucrative and price sensitivity has become more prominent as a result of the pandemic, the beauty industry is likely to see more and more prestige players diversify and expose their brand portfolio to brands across the whole price spectrum and those targeting a more varied consumer base,”​ Barbalova told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.

Deciem’s The Ordinary brand would be a particularly important addition to Estée Lauder’s portfolio, she said, because this was a brand that had “been one of the frontrunners in this area of ingredient transparency and education”​, which instilled greater credibility in product efficacy and perceptions of higher quality without carrying a higher price tag.

“Such attributes will be increasingly sought after as consumers aspire to result-driven solutions and more simplified and ingredient-led narratives, spearheaded by other investment targets such as Versed (LVMH) and The Inkey List,” ​Barbalova said.

Back in May 2020, Euromonitor International said the global luxury market was set to decline 18% due to COVID-19​, with luxury beauty set to dip 2% in value. Fflur Roberts, head of luxury goods research at Euromonitor International, identified luxury wellness as a space that offered prestige beauty promise.

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