Clifford Chance, Sullivan & Cromwell on call for Kering’s acquisition of luxury perfume maker Creed

Paris luxury group signals ambition for new beauty division with all-cash deal

Clifford Chance and Sullivan & Cromwell are acting in Kering’s acquisition of perfume maker Creed, as the French luxury giant, which owns brands including Balenciaga, Gucci, Alexander McQueen and Yves Saint Laurent, moves to expand in the fast-growing cosmetics and fragrance sector. 

Clifford Chance is advising BlackRock Long Term Private Capital (BlackRock LTPC) and Creed chairman, Javier Ferrán, on the sale of the business, having advised Blackrock LTPC and Ferrán when the former acquired Creed back in 2020. 

As with the earlier deal the Clifford Chance team was led by partner and London private equity head Christopher Sullivan and senior associate Shimin Lee, with support from associates Lianne Mizrachi, Megan Hodges and Lewis Barton.  

Others advising on the deal in London included partner Stephen Reese and associate Uche Eseonu (IP), as well as partners Nicholas Kinnersley (finance), Richard Kalaher and Sonia Gilbert (both tax). Private equity partners Neil Barlow and Laurent Schoenstein advised in New York and Paris respectively, with competition law matters handled by partner Jennifer Storey in London and Brussels-based senior associate Jonathan Blondeel.  

Kering chair and chief executive officer, François-Henri Pinault, said the acquisition marked the first “strategic initiative” for Kering Beauté, the beauty division the Paris-based group launched in February to compete in a segment where rivals like LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE and Hermès International have performed strongly.

The all-cash deal will see Kering Beauté acquire 100% of Creed. Further terms of the transaction were not disclosed, though according to Reuters Kering may have paid up to $2bn for Creed, which it said generated revenue of more than €250m in the year ended 31 March 2023. 

Kering said it plans to “unlock” Creed’s potential, particularly through developing the brand in China and in travel retail and expanding its feminine fragrance line. The Paris-based perfume house, which has 36 branded stores and 1,400 doors globally, is known for its men’s fragrance Aventus. 

The transaction is expected to close in H2 2023, subject to clearance by the relevant competition authorities.

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