Estée Lauder buys Tom Ford with $2.8 billion bid

Tom Ford

FILE – Tom Ford attends the CFDA Fashion Awards at The Pool and The Grill on Nov. 10, 2021, in New York. Estee Lauder is acquiring luxury powerhouse Tom Ford in a deal valued at $2.8 billion in a deal announced Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

(NewsNation) — Estée Lauder Cos. is the new owner of Tom Ford brands after winning a $2.8 billion bid, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The deal includes extending the agreements of Tom Ford’s two big licensing partners, Ermenegildo Zegna Group, an accessories and underwear line, and Marcolin s.P.a., which specializes in eyewear, making it the company’s largest investment to date.

“Under the stewardship of ELC, the purchase of the Tom Ford brand and the extension of its current licensing partners will allow for continuity and the further evolution of the Tom Ford brand as one of the preeminent global luxury brands of the twenty-first century,” the company said in a statement.

Rumors that Tom Ford’s namesake business could possibly sell first began circulating after he hired Goldman Sachs to create a valuation in July.

At the time, Ford’s former employer, Kering — a French company that houses brands such as Gucci, Saint Laurent, and Balenciaga — emerged as a frontrunner, but Estée Lauder ultimately prevailed in the auction.

The New York-based cosmetics company’s acquisition of the high-end menswear fashion brand comes after a 17-year partnership that included a licensing deal that developed and distributed scents and cosmetics under the Tom Ford brand name.

Tom Ford, the owner, will stay on at least through the end of calendar 2023, according to Estée Lauder, and will continue to work alongside the new owners.

“I could not be happier with this acquisition, as The Estée Lauder Companies is the ideal home for the brand,” Tom Ford said in a statement. “They have been an extraordinary partner from the first day of my creation of the company, and I am thrilled to see them become the luxury stewards in this next chapter of the Tom Ford brand.”

According to the report, initial talks were in the $3 billion ballpark, but market volatility and inflation brought down the final price tag.

According to the WSJ report, transactions will be funded by way of cash, debt, and $300 million in deferred payments to sellers, which come due beginning in July 2025.

For Tom Ford, it’s an already established partnership and opportunity to grow their beauty line (as well as operating under an owner valued at $78 billion as of Nov. 11).

And for Estée Lauder, known for brands such as Clinique and M.A.C., it’s the chance to venture outside of beauty to compete more closely with fashion houses such as LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

The deal is projected to close in the first half of 2023.

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