The FINANCIAL — Unilever announced on September 25 that it has agreed to acquire Carver Korea, a leading skincare business in North Asia, for €2.27bn, from Bain Capital Private Equity and Goldman Sachs.
Founded in 1999, Carver has shown exponential growth over the last five years; delivering sales of €321m and EBITDA of €137m in 2016. Building on its origins as an aesthetics company supplying professional products to beauty salons, Carver has become the fastest-growing skincare business in South Korea, through sales of its brand, AHC. AHC’s portfolio is focused on two high-demand consumer spaces: age management, and hydration and nourishment. The range includes the hero product: ‘Eye Cream for Face’, along with essences, toners, moisturisers, masks, and sun protection.
Alan Jope, Unilever President Personal Care, says: “We are delighted to be acquiring Carver Korea. It is an impressive business that is completely aligned to our Personal Care strategy. It will significantly strengthen our position in North Asia, the largest skincare market in the world; and will complement our existing portfolio, enabling us to offer luxury skincare products at attainable price points. AHC has been strongly gaining popularity thanks to its efficacious, innovative and premium products; and it therefore offers great opportunities for growth.”
Ed Han, a Managing Director for Bain Capital Private Equity, says: “This has been a great opportunity for us to partner with a leading Korean company in an exciting segment of the cosmetics space and to help support its brand, operations and growth around the world. Unilever is a strong partner to help the company in its next phase of growth and development.”
South Korea is the fourth largest skincare market in the world and is also a source of global beauty trends, with the term ‘K-Beauty’ becoming a globally-used shorthand for sophisticated skincare that is widely exported. Carver has a very strong position in this space, and it will therefore strengthen Unilever’s expertise in the Asian beauty market, and its Personal Care category globally.
The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals, according to Unilever.