Shiseido buys Drunk Elephant

Shiseido has acquired “one of the fastest-growing prestige skincare brands in history” – Drunk Elephant – for US$845 million.

Announcing the deal, Shiseido president and CEO Masahiko Uotani said the acquisition would strengthen its leadership in the global prestige skincare market.

Drunk Elephant was founded in 2013 by Tiffany Masterson, a then stay-at-home Houston mum “searching for solutions to her own skincare concerns”.

She developed “a solutions-oriented, cross-generational brand for all skin types”, and has since “experienced exponential growth across a full range of consumer demographics including Gen Z and Millennials”.

Today Drunk Elephant is renowned for its ‘clean compatible’ philosophy which sees both natural and synthetic ingredients that “either directly benefit the skin’s health or support the integrity and effectiveness of the formulations” but avoids the “Suspicious Six (essential oils, drying alcohols, chemical sunscreens, SLS, silicones and fragrances/dyes)”.

“When formulating the products we focus on biocompatibitily, pH levels and safety, always making sure that the active ingredients are at efficacious levels and remain respective and always supportive of skin acid mantle,” the company says.

“… while Drunk Elephant aims for its products to be as natural as possible, it is far more important that the ingredients in them be effective and safe. Plenty of natural ingredients are harmful to the health of the skin, so we consistently formulate our products with soothing, low-hazard ingredients ‒ regardless of their natural or synthetic status.”

Drunk Elephant founder Tiffany Masterson

Uotani said Shiseido’s acquisition of Drunk Elephant is squarely aligned with Shiseido’s Vision 2020 goal of accelerating growth and creating value through strategic partnerships.

“Drunk Elephant’s approach strongly resonates with its highly engaged and loyal consumers, who value the integrity and effectiveness of Drunk Elephant’s formulations combined with a fun, curious approach.

“I am confident that under Marc Rey’s leadership in the Americas and Shiseido’s global platform and unique resources, we will strongly support Drunk Elephant on its ongoing growth trajectory.

“I am very pleased to welcome Tiffany (who will stay on as chief creative officer and president) and the Drunk Elephant team to the Shiseido Family and together, pursue our long-term mission of “Beauty Innovations for a Better World”.

Meanwhile Masterson said the deal was a dream come true.

“I started this business as an industry outsider, and from the beginning I did things a little differently,” she said.

“To join with a powerhouse beauty company such as Shiseido that leads the industry in innovation and global excellence is a dream come true for me and for Drunk Elephant.

“We share similar values, most importantly an unwavering commitment to the consumer.

“I chose a partner who will let the brand continue to be itself, with the same formulations and the same team.”

Forbes estimates that Masterton will pocket roughly US$120 million when the sale closes at the end of the year.

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