The sales and acquisition of big global hair & beauty brands is increasing. This is testament to the health of the sector and the strong desire to increase investment, especially in markets that still offer huge growth potential.

Mega-transactions have led to the exchange of ownership of some well-known brands with the aim to enhance their opportunities in new markets, or as a tool to increase the group market share in fundamental countries like China, where consumers confidence is once more on the rise.

One good example is L’Oréal’s imminent purchase of Australian skincare brand Aesop. In a deal with Brazilian Natura & Co worth $2.53bn (£2bn), it represents the French beauty giant’s largest takeover in decades.

Aesop has been described by L’Oréal chief executive Nicolas Hieronimus as a “superb combination of urbanity, hedonism and undeniable luxury”.
Founded 36 years ago, Aesop has developed fast in the last decade creating a global chain of almost 400 stores.
What is also intriguing about this acquisition is L’Oréal’s intention to help Aesop expand into China, where the brand opened its first store in 2022, but did not grow to its full potential.
“Aesop taps into all of today’s ascending currents and L’Oréal will contribute to unleashing its massive potential, notably, in China and travel retail,” Hieronimus added.

The stocks transaction and financial acquisitions seem to go around in circles among these big groups: Brazilian Natura & Co bought a majority stake in Aesop in 2012, before taking full ownership of the brand four years later. They worked very well with the brand – between 2012 and 2022, Aesop gross sales jumped from $28m to $537m.

Natura chief executive Fábio Barbosa said the company would now focus on improving its other businesses, including UK High Street Chain The Body Shop, which it bought (what a coincidence!) from L’Oréal in 2017.

“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,” Mr Barbosa added.

In 2017, Natura&Co paid €1bn ($1.1bn; £880m) to L’Oréal, which has owned The Body Shop for 11 years. The Body Shop is now one of the world’s biggest cosmetics chains with 3,000 stores in 66 countries.