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. Traditionally the portfolio has been led for several years 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 acquired 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 CoverGirl 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. That deal more than doubled the size of the company towards the end of 2016. However, Coty has been struggling ever since to manage its vastly expanded portfolio. 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. The Covid pandemic provided new challenges in 2020, resulting in the group's 4th consecutive net loss, of $1.0bn. Combined losses since 2017 are almost $5.4bn. However, at the same time, the group also cut loose a large part of its huge brand collection, offloading Wella, Clairol, OPI and GHD and other brands into separate entity Wella Company, controlled by private equity investor KKR. (Coty retains a 40% holding and continues to distribute those products). It also divested direct seller Younique. As a result, revenues fell by a quarter to $4.7bn for the year to Aug 2020. Yet the sell-off did little to dim Coty's acquisition fever and it added a 20% stake in Kim Kardashian West's beauty range as well as majority control of Kylie Jenner's equivalent company in deals which valued each of the two businesses at $1bn. 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, joined the group in Sept as CEO. Harf remains executive chairman. Coty is controlled by JAB Holdings, the investment vehicle for the Reimann family of Germany. Other interests include coffee roasting and retail.
Capsule checked 11th May 2021
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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 business, 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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