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Australian tanning and skincare brand Bondi Sands will be acquired by Kao Corporation, a $26 billion Tokyo-listed chemicals and cosmetics giant.
Bondi Sands, the country’s most recognisable self-tanning brand, was founded in Melbourne in 2012 and is now sold in more than 32 countries, including the US and the UK. Kao Corporation subsidiaries Kao Australia and Kao USA are set to own the Australian brand in a cash deal estimated to be worth $450 million, according to The Australian Financial Review.
Bondi Sands founders Shaun Wilson (left) and Blair James (right).Credit: Chris Hopkins
Bondi Sands co-founder and chief executive Shaun Wilson said his brand shared values and principles with the Japanese company, which would help it grow globally.
“The integration of Kao’s renowned scientific and technological resources into our operations is an unparalleled opportunity that will significantly contribute to the exponential growth of our brand, empowering us to further expand our product offerings and advance our research and development initiatives,” Wilson said in a statement issued by Kao.
“With this partnership, we can now confidently explore untapped markets, reach more customers around the world and continue to fulfil our company mission.”
Kao’s interest in Bondi Sands lies in the brand’s extensive range of broad spectrum sunscreens, most of which are SPF 50+. The Japanese giant said it had nominated skincare as a medium-term growth driver and was seeking “aggressive investments” to grow through skin protection and suncare products. Bondi Sands will give the Tokyo-based giant solid footing in the self-tanning market.
Karen Frank, president of Kao’s consumer care business in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa, said Bondi Sands would be a perfect fit for its portfolio, which includes John Freida, Biore, Jergens, Curel and more.
“Quality, innovation, environmental responsibility, accessibility and community are at the forefront of everything it does, ideally aligning Bondi Sands to our own brand values and corporate philosophy,” Frank said.
“The addition of Bondi Sands to our consumer family of brands will greatly advance our mission to be the pre-eminent leader in the global skin protection business and continue our journey of offering diverse products that promote a ‘kirei’ [clean and beautiful] lifestyle that is healthy, inclusive and sustainable for all.”
Bondi Sands claims to be the number one self tanning brand globally.
Bondi Sands and Shaun Wilson have been contacted for comment.
The deal is subject to “normal regulatory review and approval” according to Kao’s statement.
Last year, Bondi Sands faced a US class action for alleged greenwashing over its claims that its sunscreens were “reef friendly”.
The self-tanning brand’s first batch of products turned customers green and had to be recalled.
“It was not the greatest start,” Wilson said in January 2020. “The quality control of one of the ingredients was not up to scratch and we had to do a recall. We faced up to it and were honest with our wholesaler Priceline and they gave us another chance.”
Bondi Sands is the latest in a string of Australian brands that have been sold to international conglomerates: craft gin distillery Four Pillars was sold to Japanese-owned beverages giant Lion in early July, while Melbourne-born luxury cosmetics brand Aesop was snapped up in April by Brazilian owner Natura & Co Holding for $US2.53 billion ($3.7 billion) in the biggest deal for a luxury brand in Australian history.
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