Since its launch back in 1904, Coty Inc. has grown through collaborations and acquisitions to become one of the world’s biggest beauty conglomerates with an iconic portfolio of brands across fragrance, cosmetics, hair color and styling, skin and body care.
Coty was founded by François Coty in Paris in 1904. The brand’s first fragrance, La Rose Jacqueminot, was unveiled the same year, packaged in a bottle designed by Baccarat. L’Origan; according to The Week, the perfume was the first example of “a fine but affordable fragrance that would appeal both to the upper classes and to the less affluent, changing the way scents were sold forever” Following its early successes, Coty opened its first store in 1908 in Paris’ Place Vendôme. Soon after, it collaborated with French glass designer René Lalique to create custom fragrance bottles and packaging materials.
The conglomerate began its global expansion in the 1910s, opening its headquarter in New York and commissioning Lalique to design pressed glass panels for the façade windows for which the structure was given landmark status by New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Coty began selling other beauty products including face, body powders, lipsticks and launched one of its most successful fragrances, Chypre, in 1917. During the Twenties, Coty unveiled over fifteen fragrances and expanded into Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. Coty, Inc. was formed in New York in 1922 and became a publicly-traded company. Sadly, François Coty passed way in 1934; his family maintained control of the company and served as board members.
Global diversified health care company Pfizer acquired Coty in 1963 and resold the beauty business in 1992 to Germany- based Joh. A. Benckiser, a leading consumer products and cosmetics company with operations in over twenty countries. Peter Harf was appointed CEO. Famed in the industry as one of the most aggressive players in terms of mergers and acquisitions, Coty acquired Unilever’s European cosmetic brands, including Rimmel, in 1996. Bernd Beetz joined Coty as chief executive from LVMH where he oversaw the Perfume and Cosmetics division. With him at the helm, the company initiated deals that elevated Coty to industry leader. He narrowed the focus on celebrity-endorsed fragrances including David Beckham, Céline Dion, Jennifer Lopez and Sarah Jessica Parker and expansion of its portfolio of luxury fragrances. Coty proved that the wisdom on successful corporate acquisitions is simple: make them synergistic. And it grew stronger with each purchase. In 2005, Coty purchased licenses for Calvin Klein, Cerruti, Chloé, Lagerfeld and Vera Wang from Unilever. These acquisitions, along with existing portfolio licenses including Adidas, Davidoff and JOOP, made Coty the largest fragrance maker. The company acquired DLI Holding Corp. in 2007, adding Sally Hansen and Color to its portfolio; entered into license agreements with Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta and Miu Miu; and acquired OPI Products.
The conglomerate filed to go public in June 2012 and CNNMoney described it as the “largest U.S.-listed IPO for a consumer products company”. Coty acquired Bourjois in 2014. During 2015–2016, it acquired forty-one beauty brands from Procter and Gamble including Clairol, CoverGirl, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Max Factor and Wella, which made Coty the third largest global seller of cosmetics. The next step was a license agreement with Tiffany and acquiring Hypermarcas’ beauty and personal care and Burberry’s cosmetics and fragrances. In November 2019, Coty acquired fifty one per cent of Kylie Jenner’s brands, Kylie Cosmetics and Kylie Skin. Shortly, her sister Kim Kardashian West sold twenty per cent of her beauty business to Coty for $200 million. In a company release, Peter Harf stated, “Kim is a true modern day global icon. She is a visionary, an entrepreneur, a mother, a philanthropist, and through social media has an unparalleled ability to connect with people around the world. This influence, combined with Coty’s leadership and deep expertise in prestige beauty, will allow us to achieve the full potential of her brands.”
Recently, Coty Inc closed its manufacturing site in Cologne, Germany in an effort to consolidate its fragrance operations. Per Forbes, ‘The company last year announced a plan to cut costs, improve supply chain and reduce debt, which came as the Covid-19 pandemic kept salons and department stores, where its products are sold, shut. ”Our network has been operating over-capacity in recent years and the considerable impact of Covid-19 has accelerated the need to take action” said Richard Jones, global chief supply officer. The changes are expected to bring annual net savings for Coty.’
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