Unilever to Buy Skincare Firm Carver Korea for $2.6B

Unilever to Buy Skincare Firm Carver Korea for $2.6B

Unilever PLC has agreed to buy Carver Korea, a Seoul-based maker of toners and moisturizers, for $2.7 billion, the latest in a string of skin-care acquisitions as it pivots toward higher-growth sectors.

The Anglo-Dutch behemoth said Carver was "an impressive business" and highlighted the deal will boost its profile across North Asia, which is now the largest market in the world for skincare products.

Carver Korea secured sales of €321m and earnings of €137m a year ago, with sales of its AHC brand making it the fastest growing skincare business in South Korea. The group's shares have added more than 17 percent to their value over the past year, and are up by just under 30 percent in the year-to-date.

It logged an operating income of 180 billion won last year, up 273 percent from a year earlier.

Bain and Goldman Sachs jointly bought a roughly 60 per cent majority stake in Carver for around $500 million past year, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday. In 2016, Carver delivered sales of EUR321 million, along with EUR137 million in earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization.

This is not the first time Unilever has struck a deal in the beauty business - in 2015 alone, it bought four high-end skin-care brands.

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Unilever is working hard to boost its performance after an unexpected takeover bid by Kraft Heinz in February.

It plans to sell or de-merge its underperforming spreads business, which could yield up to €6.8bn.

The company's origins are as a professional products supplier for beauty salons.

To that end, it has bought a string of higher-end cosmetics and skincare companies including Murad, Dermalogica, REN and Kate Somerville.

Bain and Goldman Sachs had jointly bought around 60 per cent stake in Carver Korea a year ago for around $500 million.

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