Estée Lauder in talks to buy Tom Ford in a $3 billion-plus deal, WSJ reports

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Estée Lauder Companies is in talks to buy Tom Ford in a deal valuing the fashion brand from at least $3 billion, according to the Wall Street Journalwho cited unnamed sources.

Estée Lauder is “especially interested” in the beauty division, for which it already holds the license, the newspaper reported. Bloomberg reported last month that the brand had hired Goldman Sachs for a potential sale. Other suitors are interested in buying the fashion brand, WSJ said. Neither Tom Ford nor Estée Lauder could be immediately reached for comment by Vogue Business.

The Texas-born designer, famous for his work at Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, set up his label in 2004, with a focus on cosmetics and perfume, the high-margin profit drivers of many luxury brands, later adding menswear and womenswear. He released the Tom Ford Black Orchid fragrance in 2006 and a genderless line in 2007, with the Tom Ford Beauty collection launching in 2011.

Estée Lauder, which also owns Clinique, Jo Malone and Aveda, said sales of Tom Ford Beauty rose by double-digits in its most recent third quarter, powered by new fragrance launches including Rose D’Amalfi and “hero franchises” such as Oud Wood and Ombre Leather. Prestige skincare is the fastest growing division for Estée Lauder; but Tom Ford Beauty is largely a luxury fragrance brand. Still, it also includes color cosmetics, men’s grooming products and skincare, and sits within Estée Lauder’s “luxury brands” alongside Le Labo and La Mer. The beauty giant bought Korean skincare brand Dr Jart in 2019; and in 2021, took a majority stake in Canadian beauty brand Deciem in a tiered purchase for $1 billion. The potential purchase of Tom Ford would be its largest acquisition to date.

Privately held, the Tom Ford brand does not release sales performance.

In January this year, Tom Ford canceled his fall runway show, originally scheduled to cap off New York Fashion Week, citing problems caused by the Omicron variant at his atelier in Los Angeles and factories in Italy. Then in May, he stepped down as the head of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. He is due to close New York Fashion Week on September 14.

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