Avon in ‘Advanced’ Sale Talks With Brazilian Firm

Natura Cosméticos "believes it can revive the fortunes of the company historically known for its doorstep Avon Lady sellers."
Matthew HellerMay 22, 2019
Avon in ‘Advanced’ Sale Talks With Brazilian Firm

Avon Products shares jumped on Wednesday on strong indications that the ailing cosmetics company will agree to be acquired by the Brazilian owner of the Body Shop.

While a deal had not been confirmed, both Avon and Natura Cosméticos said they were in “advanced discussions” about an acquisition that, according to media reports, would value Avon at more than $2 billion.

“The parties are currently negotiating final contractual terms of the transaction,” Natura said in a news release. “There can be no guarantee that a definitive transaction will be announced or the other terms of any such agreement.”

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A deal would not include Avon’s North American business, which was spun off three years ago as part of an effort to reduce debts and was sold last month by investment firm Cerberus Capital Management to LG Household & Health Care for $125 million.

According to The Financial Times, Natura would end up owning about 76% of the combined group, with Avon shareholders owning the remainder. In trading Wednesday, shares of Avon, which is headquartered in London but listed in New York, rose 12% to $3.58.

Sao Paulo-based Natura, which acquired the Body Shop in 2017, has been seeking opportunities to grow globally. The company “believes it can revive the fortunes of the U.S. company historically known for its doorstep Avon Lady sellers,” the FT said.

As The Guardian reports, Avon “has struggled to keep pace with changing consumer tastes and habits, and competition from rivals that have capitalized on the growth in online beauty sales.”

“The rise of social media has fueled rapid change in the beauty market, helping to launch new brands backed by online influencers, such as Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty and Kylie Jenner’s lip kits, which are challenging established names around the world,” The Guardian added.

Analysts at Brasil Plural said Natura would need to invest in the Avon brand in Brazil and may also need to invest in its logistics. The Brazilian firm is already the country’s largest cosmetics company with revenues of $3.4 billion in 2018, up 36%, and has a market value of about $6.2 billion.