L,Oréal to pay $3.7bn for Melbourne-founded luxury cosmetics brand Aesop

Cosmetics giant L'Oréal has announced plans to acquire Melbourne-founded luxury beauty brand Aesop for $3.7 billion.

The French beauty giant, which already owns a number of popular cosmetic brands such as Maybelline, Lancôme, and Garnier, will purchase Aesop from its current owners, the British-Dutch conglomerate Unilever. The deal is expected to be completed in early 2021.

The acquisition will see L'Oréal add Aesop's range of skin, hair, and body care products to its already impressive portfolio. Founded in 1987 by former hairdresser Dennis Paphitis, Aesop has since become a cult favourite among beauty enthusiasts for its natural and botanical-based formulas.

The brand, which currently has more than 200 stores in 24 countries, is estimated to be worth $1 billion in annual revenue.

Commenting on the deal, L'Oréal CEO Jean-Paul Agon said: “Aesop is a perfect addition to the L'Oréal portfolio of brands. Its unique combination of expertise in natural and botanical-based formulas, coupled with its strong presence in the luxury segment, makes it a perfect fit for our strategy of offering the most complete portfolio of beauty products on the market.”

Agon added that the acquisition of Aesop would help L'Oréal to expand its reach in the luxury beauty market, while also allowing the company to invest further in innovation and sustainability.

The announcement comes just weeks after L'Oréal revealed that it had acquired a majority stake in the French beauty brand Clarisonic.

This deal marks the latest in a series of acquisitions by L'Oréal, which is the world's largest cosmetics company. The company has been on a buying spree in recent years, having acquired several smaller beauty brands such as NYX and IT Cosmetics.