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Cosmetics Company Estée Lauder Is Set to Acquire Tom Ford [Updated]

The beauty behemoth already owns (and helped found) Tom Ford Beauty.
Tom Ford walks the runway Tom Ford during NYFW The Shows at David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center on September 12, 2021 in New York City

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The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. is readying to announce its acquisition of the Tom Ford brand in a deal valued at $2.8 billion, Business of Fashion reports. An official statement is expected to come as soon as Tuesday. 

This would be Estée Lauder's biggest acquisition to date, and, notably, its first fashion brand. The company already owns Tom Ford Beauty, which it helped launch back in 2005, when the designer went off on his own and started his namesake company with Domenico De Sole. Ford expanded into ready-to-wear in 2010. With this latest acquisition, it will gain control of the brand's apparel business as well, a first for the cosmetics company.

In early July, Bloomberg reported that Tom Ford, the brand, had brought on Goldman Sachs to advise on a potential sale that could value it at "several billion dollars," and that would potentially "include an option that would give any new owner of Tom Ford the right to work with its founder after the sale." 

In August, The Estée Lauder Companies emerged as a potential buyer, the Wall Street Journal reported, with Dana Cimilluca, Cara Lombardo and Ben Dummett writing: "Estée Lauder is especially interested in the beauty business, with which it already has a longstanding licensing deal, and could potentially look to license the clothing lines elsewhere, the people familiar with the matter said." 

By November, Kering — i.e. Ford's former employer — entered the race, per the Journal. But over the weekend, the Financial Times reported that Estée Lauder had beat out other interested parties and was preparing to share news of the deal, which includes Tom Ford's debt.

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UPDATE: Nov. 15, 2022, 5:20 p.m. ET

Estée Lauder Companies Inc. has made it official, announcing it's buying the Tom Ford brand and all its intellection property in a deal valued at $2.8 billion.

"Under the stewardship of ELC, the purchase of the Tom Ford brand and the extension of its current licensing partners will allow for continuity and the further evolution of the Tom Ford brand as one of the preeminent global luxury brands of the twenty-first century," the company said, in a statement.

"I could not be happier with this acquisition, as The Estée Lauder Companies is the ideal home for the brand," Tom Ford said, in a statement. "They have been an extraordinary partner from the first day of my creation of the company, and I am thrilled to see them become the luxury stewards in this next chapter of the Tom Ford brand."

Ford, the man, will stay on — at least "through the end of calendar 2023," per Estée Lauder. His longtime business partner, Domenico De Sole, "will stay on as a consultant until that same time."

The deal also won't affect Tom Ford's two big licensing partners, Ermenegildo Zegna (for fashion, accessories and underwear) and Marcolin (for eyewear): Estée Lauder said these relationships will not only continue, but be "extended," with Zegna "acquiring operations of the Tom Ford fashion business necessary to perform its obligations as licensee." 

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