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Cosmetics giant Coty buys OPI Products

The acquisition of the North Hollywood nail polish maker is the New York firm's third in three weeks. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

November 30, 2010|By Nate Jackson, Los Angeles Times

North Hollywood nail polish maker OPI Products Inc., best known for its nail lacquers inspired by celebrities including Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Jennifer Lopez, has been purchased by cosmetics giant Coty Inc., the companies announced Monday.

This latest acquisition by privately held Coty, which last year sold $4 billion worth of fragrances and other beauty products, comes amid a flurry of growth by the brand. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

"It's time for a new era at OPI," said George Schaeffer, the company's co-founder and chief executive. "Our management team will continue on with the company, and OPI's business strategy will remain focused on the salon professional." The company employs about 450 workers at its main location in North Hollywood.

This was Coty's third acquisition of a cosmetics company in three weeks. "We view the acquisition of OPI as complementary to Coty and a natural extension of our strategy to offer both a unique portfolio of brands," Coty CEO Bernd Beetz said in a statement.

The merger will also enable Coty to tap into OPI's chip-resistant-nail lacquer products, the company's most successful product line, he said.

"This acquisition will allow Coty to expand our presence in the nail care category," said Beetz, adding that purchasing the OPI brand gives the company a new avenue of distribution in professional salons. OPI also has a number of successful partnerships with the CW network, Dell Inc., Walt Disney Pictures and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc.

Last week, New York-based Coty said it would buy skin-care and cosmetics company Philosophy from private equity firm Carlyle Group. The week before that, Coty said it would purchase Dr. Scheller Cosmetics from Russian cosmetics company Kalina Group. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

"Coty has really been one of the most aggressive acquirers in the cosmetics industry this year," said Rommel T. Dionisio, senior vice president at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. He noted that larger companies have been buying smaller salon brands of cosmetics this year.

In January, Shiseido Co., Japan's largest cosmetics company, grabbed a bigger piece of the U.S. market by purchasing San Francisco firm Bare Escentuals Beauty Inc. for $1.7 billion, the largest acquisition in the company's 83-year history . In May, cosmetics giant Estee Lauder Inc. bought Culver City makeup company Smashbox Beauty Cosmetics Inc. in the hope of attracting younger customers.

From a growth standpoint, OPI stands to gain a broader distribution platform, Dionisio said.

"OPI certainly gains a deep-pocketed parent company," he said. "From a global perspective, that's one of the appeals of merging with larger companies. They have faster potential to expand in overseas markets."

nate.jackson@latimes.com

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