Estee Lauder to buy Deciem

The global beauty giant has taken a majority stake in the Toronto beauty company, with full ownership aimed for 2024.

Estée Lauder is increasing its investment in Toronto-based personal care and beauty company Deciem, with a plan to obtain full ownership within the next three years.

Deciem – known as “The Abnormal Beauty Company” – is best known for its popular The Ordinary line of products, but also the NIOD, Hylamide, Chemistry Brand and Hif brands.

Estée Lauder already has a 29% minority ownership stake in the company, established in 2017 to help it handle what co-founder Brandon Truaxe said at the time was booming demand.

In the first phase of the investment plan, Estée Lauder will increase its ownership stake to 76% in a transaction expected to close by the end of Q2 valued at US$2.2 billion. It will then acquire the remaining interests in Deciem after a three year period, with the cost of the transaction determined by Deciem’s performance over that time.

In 2018, the relationship between Estée Lauder and Deciem’s then-CEO became rocky, with Truaxe ordering all of Deciem’s stores to close after he claimed to have uncovered “financial crimes” and made hundreds of posts through the company’s own social media channel. Estée Lauder cited this and other “erratic, disturbing and offensive behaviour” as being harmful to the company in an application to have Truaxe removed from his leadership position, which was granted in court. Truaxe passed away months later at the age of 40.

After Estée Lauder bought its first stake in the company, Truaxe hailed the way Estée Lauder approached its investment compared to other companies and firms it had been in discussions with, pointing specifically to how it didn’t want to change what was working. In a statement with Tuesday’s announcement, co-founder and current CEO Nicola Kilner said Truaxe wanted Estée Lauder to be Deciem’s “forever home,” and that she – along with chief scientific officer Prudvi Kaka and chief operating officer Stephen Kaplan – would continue to build on the company’s success under Estée Lauder’s ownership.

Deciem has 33 of its own retail stores globally, 10 of which are located in Canada. Its brands and products are also available in nearly 300 beauty and department stores and over 100 online stores. In the announcement of the transaction, Estée Lauder said Deciem had US$460 million in sales for the 12 months ending Jan. 31, which shows continued growth since the company’s initial investment in 2017.