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Shiseido to Acquire Drunk Elephant in $845 Million Deal

The brand's founder, Tiffany Masterson, will remain on board and promises consumers a seamless transition to the Japanese beauty conglomerate.
Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Drunk Elephant

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Drunk Elephant

Japanese beauty company Shiseido will acquire "clean" skin-care brand Drunk Elephant in a $845 million deal, the two entities announced on Tuesday. After years of speculation and several months of official bids this fall, Drunk Elephant founder Tiffany Masterson chose to part with a 100% stake in her company, though she notes she will remain on board with the company under its new ownership.

Drunk Elephant, which was founded in 2012 by Masterson, has been one of the fastest-growing beauty brands on the market, particularly gaining traction as the skin-care and clean-beauty categories have skyrocketed in popularity during its tenure. For years, Masterson had answered questions about whether and when she would sell to one of the larger beauty corporations, with The Estée Lauder Companies rumored to have been among interested parties. Shiseido's acquisition of the brand marks one of the largest beauty deals of the year, second to L'Occitane's $900 million deal with Elemis last January.

On Tuesday, Masterson penned a note to Drunk Elephant fans and posted it to the brand's Instagram feed, a forum where she often communicates directly with consumers. "I couldn't be more excited that we've found someone who respects my vision and the brand identity and is willing to let us stay who we are," she wrote.

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Masterson has always taken a "consumer" approach to running Drunk Elephant, creating products she, as a beauty shopper, felt the market was missing. So it's no surprise that she put her consumer hat on even while discussing a massive business deal, writing: "I know what you're wondering because I am a consumer and I always think/wonder the same things when brands I love are acquired. I want to reassure you. The formulations won't be changing. I'll remain in my same role. My same incredible and lovable entire team will stay with me. If it wasn't announced, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference; that's our main goal. Our prices will not be increased. And, we'll remain cruelty-free. I wouldn't have signed on for this unless both parties could agree."

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