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Friday, January 15, 2010


TOKYO – Japanese cosmetics giant Shiseido Co. said Friday it will buy San Francisco-based Bare Escentuals Inc. for $1.7 billion, acquiring a maker of trendy makeup brands and advancing the company's plan to boost its global presence.

Shiseido will offer to buy all outstanding shares of the company for $18.20 a share, which represents a 43 percent premium over Bare Escentuals' closing price on the Nasdaq Thursday. The transaction, Shiseido's biggest takeover deal, was unanimously approved by both boards of directors.

Bare Escentuals will operate as a separate division of Shiseido under its current leadership, Shiseido said. The 34-year-old company is known for its bareMinerals and Buxom cosmetic brands sold through U.S. department stores, specialty retailers and direct marketing.

"Together with Shiseido, we look forward to bringing our mineral-based beauty products to even more women worldwide," Bare Escentuals chief executive Leslie Blodgett said in a statement.

Shiseido is Japan's biggest cosmetics company with operations in more than 70 countries. It wants to expand its global reach, however, and is aiming to boost overseas sales to 50 percent of overall revenue by 2017.

By adding Bare Escentuals, Shiseido's overseas sales will rise to 42 percent of total sales from 38 percent, the Tokyo-based company said. Moreover, it adds a lineup of trendy brands popular among women in their 20s, 30s and 40s looking for more natural alternatives to traditional beauty products.

"This acquisition further enables Shiseido to move toward our goal of becoming a global player," said President Shinzo Maeda.

Bare Escentuals' business has climbed steadily over the last several years, with net income up 11 percent in 2008 to $98 million. Sales grew 9 percent to $556.2 million.

The company is the dominant U.S. player in the mineral foundation market, which is expected to expand worldwide in the coming years. Bare Escentuals will be able to tap lucrative Asian markets using Shiseido's well-established distribution networks in the region, Maeda told reporters in Tokyo.

Blodgett, who owns six percent of Bare Escentuals, will maintain a smaller stake in the company after selling 40 percent of her holdings to Shiseido. Its top shareholder, Berkshire Partners LLC, has agreed to sell its 16 percent stake to Shiseido.

Investors cheered the news in Tokyo. Shiseido shares rose 4 percent to 2,020 yen at the end of the morning session, beating the Nikkei 225 index's 0.2 percent decline.


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