Unilever buys Carver Korea for US$2.7 bn to strengthen Asia foothold

Unilever enters K-beauty market with acquisition of Carver Korea for €2.27 billion

"The company's origins are as a professional products supplier for beauty salons", reports David Salazar for Drug Store News.

"It's right at the top-end of what Unilever's paid for things but it's pretty profitable and 35 percent of the sales go to China, so they're acquiring right in the heartland of current beauty trends", the analyst pointed out.

"Bain and Goldman Sachs jointly bought about 60% of Carver for roughly $500 million previous year", a source tells Reuters's Hyunjoo Jin and Martinne Geller.

Unilever also revealed it meant to look at changing its historic status as a dual-listed company in two countries and could offload more of its food brands.

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Investment banks (IB) explained that Unilever's acquisition of the AHC line for 16 times its Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) of Euro 137 million can be interpreted as a plan for the second takeoff in the Chinese market which is now suffering stagnation. The company's main brand is AHC, and it also sell whitening products. The two had formed a consortium a year ago to buy the stake for 430 billion won. Carver also provides a strong foothold in North Asia, the world's largest skincare market, Unilever said.

Unilever made its formal move on Carver Korea yesterday for a business that was founded back in 1999 and which has shown impressive growth over the last five years, delivering sales of €321m ($379m) and EBITDA of €137m ($162m) in 2016. "The value of South Korea's beauty market will reach about $13 billion this year, according to market researcher Mintel".

"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", said Ed Han, managing director for Bain Capital Private Equity, in a Unilever press release.

And the return sure beats that of an 18-month CD.

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