Elizabeth Arden is now a wholly owned division of Revlon. Prior to its acquisition in 2016, the then-independent company had been attempting to rejuvenate its flagship namesake fragrance and skin care business, while also widening its appeal with a collection of celebrity licenses. It has partnerships with various pop stars and actors including Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and Jennifer Aniston. However, none of these matches the might of flagship product Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds, the very first celebrity fragrance when it launched in 1991, and still a top-seller long after Taylor's own demise. The group also produces licensed fragrances for Juicy Couture, All Saints, John Varvatos and other designer labels. The Elizabeth Arden brand was invented by Canadian-born Florence Graham, who adopted the Arden name in 1910 shortly before she opened her first Red Door beauty salon in New York. By the 1930s, it had become one of the world's most prestigious beauty businesses. After her death in 1966, the company passed through several owners, including Eli Lilly, Faberge and Unilever. Fragrance manufacturer FFI bought the business in 2003 and changed its name to Elizabeth Arden Inc. Despite the move into celebrity fragrances, though, sales performance steadily declined. Group revenues for the year to Jun 2015 slumped to $971m and the group reported a second consecutive loss. In June 2016, the group accepted an offer to be acquired by larger rival Revlon for $870m. The business now operates as a self-contained unit of Revlon, managing its eponymous skincare business. Ava Huang is general manager. The portfolio of celebrity and designer fragrances was combined with Revlon's existing collection. The group also handles distribution of a collection of other fragrance brands under contract. Elizabeth Arden and Red Door beauty spas are operated under license by a third party. The Elizabeth Arden brand generated sales of $463m in 2020, almost a quarter of Revlon's combined total. The accompanying fragrances business added $351m.
Capsule checked 7th May 2021
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Adbrands Weekly Update 23rd Jun 2016: In a surprise move, Revlon agreed to acquire hard-pressed beauty rival Elizabeth Arden for $870m. The deal appears to end earlier speculation that Revlon's owner Ronald Perelman was considering a sale of that business. Instead, he's made an additional commitment that is expected to increase combined sales by around 50% to just over $3bn. The acquisition mostly complements Revlon's existing strengths in cosmetics and nailcare, adding a wider skincare business as well as a strong position in fragrance, a segment from which Revlon is currently largely absent (though it still sells 70s favourite Charlie). Arden has a collection of celebrity fragrance licenses including Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber, alongside another 70s favourite, Elizabeth Taylor. The Elizabeth Arden brand itself is strong in Asia, a market where Revlon has only limited exposure, but weak in Latin America, one of Revlon's strongest regions.
Adbrands Weekly Update 19th May 2016: Elizabeth Arden is to take charge of the Christina Aguilera fragrance license from P&G. Aguilera was one of a handful of licensors who declined the opportunity to transfer to Coty along with the rest of the P&G fragrance business. The other major holdout is Dolce & Gabbana, who have yet to confirm the destination for their cosmetics business. Aguilera joins a number of other music-related celebrity licensees at Arden, including Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. Sales of her perfumes are estimated at around $80m a year.
Adbrands Weekly Update 20th Aug 2015: The sharp industrywide decline in sales of celebrity fragrances weighed heavily on Elizabeth Arden, whose partners include Taylor Swift, Britney Spears and the Elizabeth Taylor brand, as well as its eponymous beauty range. The long-suffering company's revenues slipped to $971m, the lowest level for 10 years, and net losses almost doubled to $246m.
Adbrands Weekly Update 21st Aug 2014: Elizabeth Arden reported a shock $156m loss for its 4Q ending June, and a full year deficit of $146m on sales down 13% at $1.16bn. The company blamed a collapse in sales of its celebrity fragrances, which include the Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and Britney Spears licenses. Arden has bolstered its financial resources with a capital injection from private equity firm Rhone Capital, but the results sent investors rushing for the exit. Its stock plunged almost 24% following the results.
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