Revlon is one of the world's best-known cosmetics companies, operating primarily in the upper mass-market segment. The company made its name back in the 1930s and 40s after causing a sensation with the first coloured nail varnish, followed by matching lipsticks. It has remained one of America's foremost cosmetics brands ever since, adding Almay to its portfolio in the 1980s. There are a number of other much smaller brands in the portfolio - Mitchum deodorants, CND and Cutex nailcare, American Crew male grooming products - as well as a sizeable wholesale and professional products division. However the group has been under intense competitive pressure for several years from larger multinationals such as L'Oreal and Procter & Gamble. Only its effective ownership by playboy investor Ron Perelman (via his MacAndrews & Forbes vehicle, which controls 86% of equity) has prevented it from being snapped by a larger company. A change was expected after Perelman announced in 2016 he was considering strategic alternatives for the business. However, when it came, it was not the change analysts expected. Rather than be sold itself, Revlon agreed to acquire smaller rival Elizabeth Arden for $870m. Over the past few years the group has suffered a degree of turbulence in its senior management team, with a series of comings and goings. This has been in part caused by the tightening of Ron Perelman's grip on the company, not least with the appointment of his daughter Debra Perelman as CEO in 2018. Performance has remained under pressure, however, and in summer 2019 the company announced another strategic review, which could lead to the sale of part or all of the company. Revenues slipped to a little under $2.6bn in 2018, but the group reported a third consecutive net loss, which increased to $264m. The Revlon brand contributed just under $1bn, its lowest level for several years.
Capsule checked 20th August 2019
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Adbrands Daily Update 20th Aug 2018: Revlon confirmed it has launched a strategic review that could lead to the sale of part or all of the business. Now a comparative minnow in the increasingly consolidated beauty segment, the company has suffered several years of steady decline despite attempts to bolster performance through acquisitions such as Colomer Group and Elizabeth Arden. Could this finally be the point at which effective owner Ron Perelman finally makes the decision to cash in his chips? Both Revlon and Elizabeth Arden might now be more comfortable in the portfolio of a larger and stronger rival. Perhaps Estee Lauder?
Adbrands Weekly Update 16th Aug 2018: In the latest shake-up of Revlon's global marketing, Grey has been replaced as the beauty group's global creative agency by an inhouse entity, named The Red House. Grey told AdAge, "our contract ran through June, and we both chose not to renew." Earlier this year, Revlon - and what is now its subsidiary company Elizabeth Arden - shifted media out of Grey's sister agency Mediacom and into Initiative.
Adbrands Weekly Update 24th May 2018: Beauty group Revlon's effective owner Ronald Perelman has appointed his daughter Debra Perelman as CEO. She was previously COO, and replaces Fabien Garcia who stepped down abruptly from the top job earlier this year. Perelman acquired Revlon in 1985 through his private investment company MacAndrews & Forbes, and holds a controlling 80% stake in the business.
Adbrands Weekly Update 3rd May 2018: Revlon also called a review of global media less than a year after it consolidated marketing duties into WPP, which had already been managing media since 2010. Grey will remain global AOR, but Mediacom has declined to defend its position as worldwide media agency.
Adbrands Weekly Update 1st Feb 2018: Revlon announced the resignation of CEO Fabien Garcia after less than two years in his role. Paul Meister, former CEO of healthcare services and marketing agency InVentiv, now president of Revlon's private equity parent MacAndrews & Forbes, becomes interim head of the company, while Debra Perelman, daughter of MacAndrews' owner Ron Perelman, is joining Revlon as COO.
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