Procter & Gamble has signed an agreement to acquire Ouai, celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin's haircare brand. The transaction has not closed and will require regulatory approval.
WHO: Founded in 2015 by celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin, Ouai launched as an approachable, easy-to-use haircare products and supplements line made for Instagram. Atkin leveraged her celebrity clients including Reese Witherspoon, Emma Stone, Jessica Alba, and the Kardashian clan, along with her personal social following, to market the brand. The brand has expanded into body products, fragrances, candles, lifestyle products, and merch.
Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Procter & Gamble (P&G) is a Fortune 500 company and the global leader in Consumer Packaged Goods. P&G serves nearly 5 billion people around the world with its multi-category portfolio, which spans beauty, healthcare, grooming, fabric and home care, and baby, feminine, and family care. P&G's brands are widely recognizable, including Crest, Febreze, Gillette, Head & Shoulders, Olay, Pantene, SK-II, and Tide.
WHY: This deal represents a move into the prestige haircare sector for P&G, one of beauty's fastest-growing categories for years.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: "That passion for innovation P&G's always been famous for is something that's really something we're passionate about and excited about," Colin Walsh, CEO of Ouai, told WWD. "As we look to the future, certainly continuing to innovate in the categories we play in, expanding into markets, either where we've started or we've never been. So I think those two giant superpowers can be a great help to us as we progress," Walsh said.
Alex Keith, CEO of P&G Beauty, said, "Jen and Colin will be the people truly leading, defining the brand's expansion and those type of things, but I do personally see, and I know that they do, a geographical expansion of that core brand and its core offering as a great opportunity."
Keith continued, "We have been, you know, on an ongoing basis evaluating our portfolio and looking at brands that we think can help fill gaps in our portfolio and certainly the prestige segment of beauty, skin care, hair care are big areas of growth. More and more consumers are really looking to brands in that space, and we had a gap in that portfolio particularly in hair care, we have fantastic brands, fantastic core brands, but they are not in the prestige hair space."
- Procter & Gamble to acquire Ouai. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but WWD reported industry sources projected more than $50 million in net sales for 2021, and more than $80 million for 2022.
- In 2019, the business launched into the body category with the goal of becoming a lifestyle brand. And in 2020, Ouai expanded its retail reach beyond Sephora with a 1,200-store Ulta launch.
- Ouai will continue operating separately, without being fully integrated into the P&G business.
- The entire Ouai team is expected to stay on with the company—Atkin will remain as founder and Chief Creative Officer, and Colin Walsh will stay on as Chief Executive Officer.
- In September 2018, Alliance Consumer Growth made a minority investment in Ouai Haircare, and Colin Walsh, formerly the Chief Executive Officer of DevaCurl, was named CEO of Ouai.
- Jefferies advised Ouai on the deal.
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