L’Oréal is buying Aesop. Here’s what to know about the skincare shake-up


By Sarah Bregel


French skincare giant L’Oréal just acquired Aesop, the cosmetics company with a cult following, in a $2.53 billion deal.


Aesop, which was founded in Melbourne, Australia, became a part of Natura & Co. back in 2012 and saw exponential growth in a 10-year period. It went from just 52 stores and counters to 395. Gross sales increased from $28 million to $537 million. Last year, Aesop opened its first physical stores in China as well as grew its line of fragrances to become Natura’s most profitable business.

In a press release, Aesop CEO Michael O’Keefe called the deal “the next phase of development” for the brand, adding that the partnership will allow Aesop to bring its “exceptional skincare products to even more people and continue to expand our brand globally.”

Bank of America and Morgan Stanley advised Natura on the deal. With the move, the company will offload significant debt, as well as seek to grow other brands. CEO Fabio Barbosa says the company aims to “sharpen its focus on its strategic priorities, notably our investment plan in Latin America.” He noted that improving business for both The Body Shop and Avon brands, in particular, will be key for the company moving forward. “We are confident that Aesop’s growth story will continue under the ownership of L’Oréal and wish Aesop continued success in this new chapter,” he said. 


Centerview was the sole advisor for L’Oréal on the deal. Picking up such a well-established brand is a shift, but L’Oréal appears to be banking on continued interest in high-end cosmetics. Aesop emphasizes clean, sustainable ingredients, which is of interest to younger shoppers. It’s a trend that’s expected to continue. The brand joins the likes of Lancôme and Yves Saint Laurent at the company. 

Aesop taps into all of today’s ascending currents, and L’Oréal will contribute to unleash its massive growth potential, notably in China and travel retail,” Nicolas Hieronimus, L’Oréal’s CEO, said in a statement. 

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter. 


Fast Company