Kao Corp set to acquire Molton Brown – 12/07/05

TOKYO. Japanese household/toiletries group Kao Corp is poised to purchase UK beauty company and retailer Molton Brown.

In a statement, Kao said: “[We] can confirm that the company is in negotiations with Molton Brown Group Limited, headquartered in London, regarding a potential acquisition.

“Kao Corporation plans to release further information in due course.”

Industry sources estimate Molton Brown’s price tag to be somewhere in the region of £170 million. The sale could be confirmed by the end of this week.

Kao’s beauty/personal care portfolio to date includes Bioré, Aube, Est, Ban, Curél, Guhl, Jergens and John Frieda.

Molton Brown, whose products are claimed to be created using only natural ethical ingredients, celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2003.

Within the past five years, the company has been quietly building its presence in the travel retail channel.

The Molton Brown Travel Spa opened in late 2001 in the British Airways (BA) T4 Club Class lounge. The world’s first Molton Brown airport store – cannily located just outside the entrance to the BA lounge and Spa – followed two years later (The Moodie Report.com, 11 December 2003).

Private equity firm Bridgepoint owns a majority stake in Molton Brown after leading an institutional buy-out two years ago. Molton Brown’s management owns about 30%.


World Duty Free: Passion plus partnership drives perfumery to new levels – 16/12/03

World’s first Molton Brown stand-alone airport store opens at Heathrow – 11/12/03

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