Coty Buys Majority Stake in Social Media Sensation Younique

Beauty products manufacturer Coty Inc. (COTY—NYSE) is set to take a majority stake in social selling firm Younique, at a valuation of roughly $1 billion.

Coty announced that it will acquire 60 percent of Younique for about $600 million in cash, while company founders Derek Maxfield, CEO, and Melanie Huscroft, Chief Visionary Officer, will own the remaining 40 percent. The brother-and-sister duo will continue to lead Younique as a standalone brand within Coty’s Consumer Beauty division.

“Derek and Melanie are tremendous entrepreneurs who have built one of the most engaging and fastest growing e-commerce companies in beauty,” said Camillo Pane, Coty’s CEO. “Alongside the rest of Younique’s team and in partnership with their Presenters, they have been able to impact the lives of millions of consumers across a number of countries with a mission to uplift and empower women.”

For Younique, founded in 2012, the investment is a major vote of confidence from one of the biggest players on the global beauty scene. Coty’s portfolio of 70-plus brands includes COVERGIRL, Clairol and OPI, as well as premium fragrance and skincare labels like Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs. Back in 2012, the New York-based firm made a $10.7 billion offer to acquire another direct sales business, Avon Products Inc., but after two months of back-and-forth, Coty withdrew its bid, citing a “lack of engagement” on Avon’s part.

“We are thrilled to have Coty as a partner and expect that together we will be able to take Younique to new heights,” Maxfield said in a news release. “Coty and Younique share a passion for beauty, an entrepreneurial spirit, as well as complementary missions.”

In four years of business, Younique has built a network of about 200,000 Presenters, who host virtual parties showcasing the brand’s cosmetics and skincare products. Sales for 2016 are estimated at approximately $400 million. Both companies see the new partnership as a way to accelerate product development and international expansion at Younique, which has more than 4.1 million customers in 10 countries.

Coty officials said the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017.

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