On February 1, Henkel Group from Germany announced the acquisition of the British hair care brand Vidal Sassoon and its hair care business in the Greater China region from the American FMCG giant Procter & Gamble (P&G).
The transaction amount was not disclosed. However, according to a past report by Luxeplace.com in October last year, an insider revealed to Bloomberg that P&G was aiming for a valuation of about $1 billion for this asset.
It’s important to note that the news in October last year was about the “sale of the business in China,” but in this announcement, Henkel Group stated it would “acquire the Vidal Sassoon brand and its related hair care business in the Greater China region.”
As a leading professional salon hair care brand globally, this major transaction at the beginning of 2024 may indicate that the competition among global hair care market leaders in the Chinese market is entering a new phase.
Henkel emphasized in the announcement that the addition of Vidal Sassoon complements Henkel’s local product portfolio in China, filling a gap in the high-end retail market.
Vidal Sassoon was founded by the renowned British stylist Vidal Sassoon, who opened his first salon in London in 1954. In the 1960s, he became famous for creating iconic hairstyles (such as the “bob cut”) for celebrities like actress Mia Farrow and fashion icon Mary Quant, sparking a hairdressing revolution. Sassoon was acclaimed in the industry as a master who “changed the world with a pair of scissors.”
P&G acquired the VS Sassoon brand in the 1980s when it bought Richardson-Vicks, the parent company of Sassoon. In addition to the brand, Vidal Sassoon also sold his shares in the Sassoon hair salons and the intellectual property rights for a range of hairdressing equipment, including hairdryers and curling irons. Vidal Sassoon passed away in 2002 at the age of 84.
Introduced to the China market by P&G in 1997, Vidal Sassoon is considered an enlightening brand for Chinese consumers regarding professional salon hair concepts, having deeply engaged in the Chinese market for 27 years. According to Henkel’s data, Vidal Sassoon holds a significant position in the Chinese market, with sales exceeding 200 million euros in the fiscal year 2022/2023.
Henkel’s CEO, Carsten Knobel, stated in the announcement: “This transaction will bring significant transformation to our consumer brand business in China, giving us the opportunity to further expand our core category business in this highly attractive and growing market.”
Henkel’s Q3 data for 2023, released on November 9, showed an 8.9% increase in hair care sales, setting a new record. The retail line’s sales were driven by double-digit growth in styling and hair care products, while the professional line saw strong organic sales growth.
Henkel’s hair care brand portfolio, divided into hair care, hair coloring, and styling categories, includes brands such as Schwarzkopf, Schwarzkopf Professional, and Shiseido Professional. Most of these brands are not widely popular in the Chinese market, highlighting the necessity for Henkel to focus on the Chinese market.
The flagship brand Schwarzkopf was acquired by Henkel in 1995. Another significant acquisition was completed in July 2022, when Henkel acquired the professional hair care business from the Japanese Shiseido Group, which includes core brands under Shiseido Professional like Sublimic and Primience. This transaction further enhanced its market position in professional hair care in Japan and China.
Wolfgang König, Executive Vice President of Henkel’s Consumer Brands Business, commented on the acquisition: “We are excited about the opportunity to add this strong brand to our portfolio. It perfectly fits our strategic focus of expanding our competence in hair beyond our existing brands in the Professional and Retail space. With this acquisition, we are able to offer a complete portfolio of hair innovations to consumers in China – across Schwarzkopf, Schwarzkopf Professional, Shiseido Professional, as well as Vidal Sassoon.”
Other key investments in the global hair care market since 2023 include:
- Unilever’s acquisition of the hot tech hair care brand K18
- Madison Reed, a U.S. hair color and care startup, raising $33 million, potentially valuing it close to $1 billion
- Coty selling a 3.6% stake in Wella for $150 million, with the remainder to be divested by 2025
| Source: Official press releases
| Image Credit: Henkel official website, Vidal Sassoon official website
| Editor: LeZhi