Worldwide consumer products firm Unilever is moving to acquire South Korea's fastest-growing skincare business, Carver Korea, and its brand AHC, in a transaction that positions the firm to strengthen its foothold in northern Asia and expand its Personal Care business, the company announced in a press release Monday.
Industry watchers say Unilever acquired the firm - touted at the biggest deal in the domestic cosmetics industry - to take advantage of Carver Korea's potential in the Chinese market.
The contract also marks the largest merger and acquisition deal ever for a South Korean cosmetics firm.
The deal delivers a whopping profit for the two global investment companies which purchased a 60-percent stake in Carver Korea for 430 billion won ($397 million) in June previous year.
Carver, which started out in 1999 selling products to beauty salons, reported sales of about US$384 million in 2016.
"They help preserve our market position in attractive segments where we can bring our global scale and local strengths to bear", the company said in its most recent annual report.
"Bain and Goldman Sachs jointly bought about 60% of Carver for roughly $500 million a year ago", a source tells Reuters's Hyunjoo Jin and Martinne Geller.
"Unilever continues to build a portfolio of niche brands in premium beauty to capture opportunities in high-margin dynamic categories", said Ildiko Szalai, an analyst at Euromonitor International.
The Anglo-Dutch company announced the deal on Monday, saying Carver was the fastest-growing skincare business in South Korea, through sales of its AHC brand. The company's main brand is AHC, and it also sell whitening products.
South Korea alone is the fourth-largest skincare market in the world, with beauty products based on natural ingredients such snail gel, volcanic ash and green tea developing into a staple of the country's cosmetic market.
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