L’Oréal buys into K-beauty

L’Oréal has made its first move into the lucrative K-beauty market with the purchase of Nanda Co, the Korean company that owns 3CE makeup.

Founded in Seoul in 2004, Nanda began trading as a fashion business with its Stylenanda brand and then expanded into makeup with 3CE in 2007.

Today the makeup brand represents more than 70 percent of the company’s business.

L’Oréal did not reveal the price it has paid for the company, which recorded a turnover of US$152 million last year, but Korea Economic Daily estimated it was around $US375 million.

Announcing the purchase, L’Oréal’s Consumer Products Division president Alexis Perakis-Valat said the French company, which owns 34 beauty brands including Lancôme, Skinceuticals and Maybelline, was thrilled to welcome the “cool Korean brand in the L’Oréal family”.

“3CE captures Seoul’s vibe, edge and creativity,” she said.

“It is perfectly positioned to nourish the growing appetite for make-up of millennials in Korea, China and beyond.”

Yann Le Bourdon, president of L’Oréal Korea, added that the acquisition “will substantially reinforce L’Oréal’s presence in the accessible make-up market.

“We are very proud to welcome the group’s first Korean beauty brand and contribute to bring Korean beauty and style to the rest of the world.”

Meanwhile So Hee Kim, CEO and founder of Nanda, said he believes the transaction will be “a landmark breakthrough” for the company.

“Grounded on L’Oréal’s solid support and global platform, we envisage expanding Stylenanda’s footprints internationally, becoming a world-renowned brand to lead global trends in beauty.”

L’Oréal’s move into the Korean beauty market, is not the first, and certainly unlikely to be the last, by an international beauty company as the market is expected to generate over US$13.1 billion in sales this year according to global market intelligence agency Mintel.

In late 2015 Estée Lauder Companies purchased a stake in Have & Be, the Korean company behind Dr. Jart+ and Do The Right Thing skincare brands.

In 2016 LVMH, the owner of Benefit Cosmetics and Kat Von D Beauty, took a minority stake in South Korea’s CLIO Cosmetics.

Late last year Unilever agreed to acquire Carver Korea, “the fastest-growing skincare business in South Korea, through sales of its brand, AHC”.

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