L’Oréal acquires Melbourne luxury beauty brand Aēsop for $US2.5b


French beauty giant L’Oréal has purchased the Australian cult luxury brand Aēsop for $US2.5 billion ($3.69 billion) – its biggest acquisition to date.
L’Oreal headquarters in Clichy, suburban Paris | Image: Getty Images

L’Oréal – the French beauty giant known for owning some of the world’s leading luxury beauty brands, from Prada to Yves Saint Laurent Beauty – has signed an agreement with Brazilian-owned Natura &Co to purchase luxury Australian beauty brand Aēsop for a record $3.69 billion.

Created in Melbourne 1987, Aēsop has a cult following for its luxury skin, hair and body products. Its signature amber packaging, plant-based ingredients, sustainable vegan formulations have drawn loyal customers and helped to expand the company across luxury retail beauty and hospitality internationally.

Aēsop – which reported sales of $US537 million in 2022 – currently has around 400 locations throughout Australia, the Americas, Europe, New Zealand, and Asia, with a nascent footprint in China where the first store opened in 2022.

The company has come a long way from its humble beginnings in the Melbourne suburb of Armadale, when it was established by hair salon owner, Dennis Paphitis. Paphitis blended essential oils for his bespoke hair products, and as the business grew he rebranded it to Aesop after the Greek fabulist and storyteller. He eventually sold the brand Natura & Co in 2012 while maintaining a role as advisor.

President of L’Oréal Luxe, Cyril Chapuy, says Aēsop will likely join the L’Oréal Luxe Billionaire brands club and “contribute significantly to the growth of the division in the years to come”.

“Aēsop holds a very unique positioning on the global luxury beauty market thanks to its design-led brand essence, its highly efficacious and sensorial products as well as its customer-obsessed retail philosophy,” Chapuy says.

Kristina Bazin and President of L’Oréal Luxe, Cyril Chapuy | Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage/Getty Images

Aēsop’s CEO Michael O’Keeffe will continue to lead the business in its expansion plans, Chapuy says.

Nicolas Hieronimus L’Oréal Groupe CEO says Aēsop‘s “avant-garde beauty…and undeniable luxury” fits well with his company’s ethos.

“Aēsop 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,” he said.

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