Shiseido in talks to sell low-budget personal care business

The decision is part of the Drunk Elephant owner’s ‘prestige first’ strategy as it moves to make luxury the core focus of its business

Shiseido acquired skin care brand Drunk Elephant in 2019 for $845m

Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido has put a selection of its low-priced hair, skin and body care brands up for sale as the group moves to invest in the luxury beauty category.

The group is said to be in discussions with private equity firm CVC Asia Pacific to transfer its, primarily Asian, personal care businesses.

A report by Bloomberg with intimate details of the deal, said Shiseido’s Board is preparing to vote on the divestment “soon” and that the businesses could be sold for between US$1.45bn and $1.9bn.

Operations of hair care brand Tsubaki are among those expected to be targeted, which is mainly active in Japan, China and other areas in Asia.

However, the cosmetics maker insisted in a follow-up statement via its website that “no formal decisions have been made as of yet”.

In 2018, the beauty owner, helmed by Masahiko Uotani, who was the company's first President to be appointed from outside of the company in its 149-year history, shifted its attention to a ‘prestige first’ strategy, focusing primarily on its luxury brands.

To date, Shiseido’s premium portfolio includes its namesake cosmetics and fragrance brand, Shiseido, Clé de Peau, Dolce & Gabbana, Laura Mercier and IPSA.

Meanwhile, in 2019, Shiseido saw off competition from Estée Lauder Companies and Unilever to acquire cult skin care start-up Drunk Elephant for an estimated $845m.

Cosmetics Business has reached out to Shiseido for comment.

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