Coty is the world's biggest fragrance manufacturer and, following a series of large-scale acquisitions, now among the leaders in both the mass and prestige beauty markets, and also in salon haircare. The portfolio is led by the worldwide Calvin Klein fragrance franchise, acquired from Unilever in 2005. Other key brands include major licenses on behalf of Adidas, Bruno Banani and Davidoff as well as celebrities as diverse as Jennifer Lopez, David Beckham, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. The group's cosmetics products include Rimmel and Lancaster. These have been joined over the past five years by a large collection of other brands. In 2012, Coty launched an unsuccessful offer to acquire troubled rival Avon for $10.7bn. Three years later, it had more luck with French cosmetics brand Bourjois, acquired from Chanel for $240m. There have been many other such purchases since then (including GHD hair styling products, Brazil's Monange and Risque brands, direct seller Younique and the Tiffany and Burberry cosmetics licenses among others), but the company's biggest deal by far was the - in hindsight, over-ambitious and ill-conceived - acquisition for $12.5bn of a huge chunk of Procter & Gamble's beauty business, including Cover Girl and Max Factor cosmetics, Clairol and Wella haircare and almost the entire P&G Prestige fragrance portfolio including the licenses for Hugo Boss and Gucci, among others. That deal, which more than doubled the size of the company, completed towards the end of 2016. However, Coty has been struggling to manage its vastly expanded portfolio ever since. A crucial factor was the dramatic slump in performance by the P&G brands during the extended delay between agreement of the takeover and its completion a year later. Mass consumer brands CoverGirl and Clairol were especially badly affected. That prompted a massive impairment charge in ye 2019, resulting in a net loss of $3.8bn, the group's third consecutive deficit and its biggest by far. Revenues for the year were $8.6bn, well below the previous year's figure. Shortly afterwards, the group announced plans to spin off several of its acquired professional beauty and haircare brands into a separate company. In will retain a 40% holding in that unit - which comprises Wella, Clairol, OPI and GHD - but the majority interest belongs to private equity firm KKR. Coty is controlled by JAB Holdings, the investment vehicle for the Reimann family of Germany. Other interests include coffee roasting and retail. In June 2020, Peter Harf, one of JAB's managing partners and a former CEO of Coty, took back that role once more in an attempt to drag the company back on-course. Only a few months later, there was yet another change of plan: Sue Youcef Nabi, a former president of the L'Oreal Paris and Lancome brands, will join the group in Sept as CEO.
Capsule checked 24th September 2019
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Adbrands Daily Update 1st June 2020: Change of plan at struggling Coty. The stricken beauty group unexpectedly cancelled the appointment - announced only three months ago - of Pierre Denis as CEO. Denis will remain an adviser to the buisiness, but instead Peter Harf, one of the principals at parent JAB Holdings, will grasp the nettle in an attempt to solve Coty's multiple problems. His appointment follows grim results for the latest quarter, with like-for-like revenues down 20% and net losses of $272m. There was a glimmer of hope, though, with confirmation that private equity firm KKR will acquire 60% control of a carved-out professional beauty and haircare division comprising Wella, Clairol, OPI and GHD. That deal, and a separate investment in Coty itself, will generate around $3.5bn of cash for with which the group can pay down its huge $8bn debt pile.
Adbrands Daily Update 2nd Mar 2020: More disruption at troubled Coty. Pierre Laubies will step down in summer 2020 after less than two years in the top job. His successor will be Pierre Denis, currently CEO of Jimmy Choo - which was itself previously owned by Coty's controlling shareholders JAB - and already a director of Coty. He will be the group's third CEO in three years. For its most recent quarter, Coty reported another near-7% decline in revenues and a net loss of $21m. That included more than $225m of restructuring and business realignment costs as well as consulting and legal fees associated with the Kylie Cosmetics deal and the planned sell-off of professional beauty.
Adbrands Daily Update 18th Nov 2019: Even as it seeks buyers for one set of brands acquired in its last acquisition splurge, Coty keeps adding to its portfolio with new high-value deals. The company has agreed to acquire majority control of Kylie Jenner's Kylie Cosmetics beauty business for a whopping $600m. "Kylie and her team will continue to lead all creative efforts in terms of product and communications initiatives, building on her unrivalled global reach capabilities through social media." Coty will take control of manufacturing, distribution and product development. The deal values Kylie Cosmetics at just over $1.2bn, more than six times its annual revenues. Coty declared its brand sales at $177m for the past 12 months.
Adbrands Daily Update 22nd Oct 2019: In a dramatic about-face, Coty announced it is exploring strategic alternatives - that famous euphemism for a sell-off - for several of the brands it has acquired over the past four years. The group has put its whole professional beauty business "and associated hair brands" on the block. That includes Clairol, Wella, Sebastian and other brands acquired from P&G as well OPI nailcare and GHD hair styling tools. Also up for sale is the group's Brazilian beauty division, formerly Hypermarcas. Combined sales of the portfolio are around $2.7bn, equivalent to around a third of Coty's total revenues.
Adbrands Daily Update 31st Aug 2019: Coty attempted to clear the decks for a turnaround of its struggling consumer beauty division with a huge $4bn impairment charge for the year, mainly against the various brands acquired from P&G. That resulted in a final net loss of $3.8bn. Revenues slipped back 3.5% organic to $8.6bn as poor performance by CoverGirl, Clairol and other mass market brands was offset by strength in luxury products, primarily the Burberry, Gucci and Clavin Klein fragrance brands. Organic decline across the consumer beauty division was 10.5%, and almost 2% in professional beauty, compared to almost 5% growth in luxury beauty. The group is also still labouring under massive debts, which grew to $7.4bn.
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