FOR RELEASE ON JULY 28, 2006
Alticor Inc. today announced that it acquired Gurwitch Products, a luxury cosmetics and skin care company that develops, manufactures and markets cosmetics under the brand name Laura Mercier®, from The Neiman Marcus Group.
Under the terms of the transaction agreement, Gurwitch Products will operate as a stand-alone, wholly owned subsidiary of Alticor, and maintain its current retail distribution channels through high-end department stores and online retailers.
Through its 100 percent ownership of Gurwitch Products, Alticor expects to enhance its insight into the luxury cosmetics marketplace, and leverage combined product development capabilities to realize enhanced growth opportunities in Alticor’s direct sales premium beauty business. With the support of Alticor’s global infrastructure and resources, Gurwitch Products will continue to grow the Laura Mercier business and add to its strong luxury brand portfolio. “This transaction represents an exciting new partnership in the luxury cosmetics marketplace,” said Steve Van Andel, chairman of Alticor. “Gurwitch Products has demonstrated a strong track record of leadership in developing a highly successful luxury cosmetic brand. We look forward to pooling their extensive knowledge of the worldwide industry with our global connectivity, manufacturing expertise and our companies’ integrated R&D capabilities to support the growth of both the Laura Mercier product line and our own skin care and cosmetic offerings.”
Alticor president Doug DeVos continued, “For Alticor, the acquisition builds on Gurwitch Products’ knowledge of prestige cosmetics and consumers in the luxury cosmetics space to bring product advancements to our core direct sales distribution channel, to the benefit of our Independent Business Owners and their customers around the world.”
“We are excited to be part of Alticor, a global company with an uncompromising commitment to quality products and leadership in the skin care and color cosmetics industry,” said Janet Gurwitch, chief executive officer of Gurwitch Products. “Gurwitch Products has worked successfully with Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, its other retail partners and talented artist Laura Mercier to build a luxury cosmetic brand with an exceptional reputation among consumers and the industry. This transaction comes at a significant time as the Laura Mercier brand celebrates its ten year anniversary. Gurwitch Products will maintain close partnerships with its valued retail partners and continue exclusive distribution of Laura Mercier through high-end retail and online sales channels. Joining with Alticor will provide access to additional resources, support and global infrastructure to help Gurwitch Products bring its business to the next level.”
Neiman Marcus Group president and chief executive officer Burt Tansky commented, “We are confident that Alticor will be a strong partner for Gurwitch Products and will support the continued growth and success of its Laura Mercier brand. Laura Mercier will continue to be an important part of the cosmetics assortment at both Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman.”
In 1996, Gurwitch Products joined forces with famed makeup artist Laura Mercier after realizing the imminent paradigm shift in the beauty industry propelling niche lines to the forefront of the cosmetics business. The signature of the Laura Mercier brand is the “Flawless Face®,” the nucleus of the cosmetic line which includes such award winning products as Foundation Primer, Moisturizing Foundation, Secret Camouflage and Secret Brightener.
In connection with the transaction, Banc of America Securities LLC acted as financial adviser to Alticor, and Bryan Cave LLP provided legal counsel. Financo Inc. acted as financial adviser to The Neiman Marcus Group, and Andrews Kurth LLP and Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, LLP provided legal counsel.
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