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Cosmetics maker Revlon to buy Elizabeth Arden in US$870m deal

[BENGALURU] Cosmetics maker Revlon Inc has agreed to buy Elizabeth Arden Inc in an US$870 million deal to strengthen its skincare and fragrance business and expand in high-growth markets including the Asia-Pacific region.

Elizabeth Arden's shares rose nearly 50 per cent to US$13.96 in extended trading on Thursday, close to the cash offer price of US$14 per share. Shares of Revlon, controlled by billionaire Ron Perelman, rose slightly to US$31.30.

The deal, which comes less than six months after Perelman said he would seek strategic alternatives for Revlon, will help the companies better compete with deep-pocketed rivals such Estee Lauder Cos Inc and L'Oreal SA.

The equity value of the deal is US$419 million, based on Elizabeth Arden's outstanding shares as of May 3.

Elizabeth Arden has a strong presence in the luxury skincare market, mainly in the anti-aging category, with brands such as Prevage, Ceramide and SuperStart. Its fragrances include those licensed from celebrities such as Britney Spears, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift.

Revlon is stronger in hair colour and colour cosmetics, which are mainly distributed through mass retail channels and beauty salons across 130 countries.

"The combination will leverage Revlon's scale across major vendors and manufacturing partners, improving distribution and procurement," the companies said, adding that they expected cost synergies of about US$140 million from the deal.

Elizabeth Arden has reported lower-than-expected revenue in six of the past eight quarters as it loses customers to rivals with more exclusive offerings.

BofA Merrill Lynch and Citigroup Global Markets Inc have committed about US$2.6 billion to fund the deal and refinance the debt of the two cosmetic makers.

Revlon also said it expected 2016 net sales of US$2.0 billion-US$2.1 billion on a constant-currency basis, excluding the impact of the acquisition. This implies a "high single-digit growth rate" in net sales, the company said.

Revlon also forecast adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of US$400 million-US$420 million for the year.