Revlon Comes to the Rescue of Elizabeth Arden in $870M Deal

June 16, 2016, 10:11 PM UTC
Photograph by Steven Lawton — FilmMagic via Getty Images

The long misery of Elizabeth Arden (RDEN) shareholders is at an end.

Rival beauty company Revlon (REV) is buying Elizabeth Arden in an all-cash deal for $14 per share, giving its struggling rival an enterprise value of $870 million including debt.

At the close of trading on Thursday, right before the acquisition was announced, Arden’s market capitalization was $280 million, reflecting the erosion in recent years of a once iconic brand. Shares had fallen 40% off their 52-week high Thursday afternoon. But they rose 50% on news of Revlon’s acquisition.

Elizabeth Arden has tried to execute a turnaround a recent years. But it has proven hard to reposition its namesake brand as an upscale line of fragrance, skincare and other beauty products and its bet on celebrity perfumes like Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber failed to pay off.

Revlon is betting that Arden’s portfolio will complement its own color cosmetics, hair care, men’s grooming, antiperspirants, deodorants and beauty lines. It also estimated that its bigger heft with suppliers and cost cuts would help it save $140 million a year.

One of the biggest attractions for Revlon is Arden’s strong presence in higher end department stores like Nordstrom (JWN)and in outlets like airport stores, a presence it said would complement Revlon’s strength in channels such as mass merchant retailers and drugstores. Revlon was also drawn to Arden’s stronger position in Asia.

Still, Revlon is taking on a faltering brand: Elizabeth Arden’s annual company sales fell 28% to $971 million between fiscal 2013 and 2015. And they continued to fall in the first nine months of the current fiscal year. Elizabeth Arden found itself grappling with loss of shelf space at stores like Walmart (WMT) and declining interest in celebrity fragrance among consumers. What’s more, many younger customers have gravitated to brands like LVMH’s Sephora, a hipper and relatively inexpensive brand.

The companies expect the deal to close by the end of the year.

The deal is the second large acquisition by a major beauty company in the last year: in 2015, Coty announced it would buy much of Procter & Gamble’s (PG) beauty business, including Covergirl, for $12.5 billion.

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