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Briefing: November 18th

A several-months in the making deal for Tom Ford came into fruition this week, with Estée Lauder Companies (“ELC”) announcing on Tues. that it had “signed an agreement to acquire the Tom Ford brand.” The “transformational” deal will establish ELC “as the sole owner of the Tom Ford brand and all its intellectual property,” the cosmetics giant revealed. Among the benefits being garnered by ELC: The co. says it is “securing the long-term cash flow from owning the fast-growing Tom Ford Beauty brand beyond the existing license expiration in 2030 and the elimination of royalty payments on beauty upon closing, as well as new licensing revenue streams and other anticipated synergies.” (Tom Ford first licensed its trademarks to ELC for use on cosmetics/fragrances back in 2006.)

Other elements of the deal include …

–  Extending and expanding the Tom Ford brand’s longstanding relationship with Zegna to include a long-term license for all men’s and women’s fashion, as well as accessories and underwear.

–  “Substantially extending” Tom Ford’s current license with eyewear-maker Marcolin. 

The deal, which values the Tom Ford brand at $2.8 billion, comes as ELC aims to bolster its luxury offerings; the word “luxury” was mentioned 21 times in ELC’s deal-announcing release, in which it states that Tom Ford Beauty is “strongly positioned in the luxury fragrance and makeup categories, areas that are expected to outperform industry growth over the coming years.” ELC President and CEO further drove home the emphasis on upscale, stating that taking control over the Tom Ford Beauty brand will “further help to propel our momentum in the promising category of luxury beauty for the long-term.”

The Bigger Picture: ELC is not the only player looking upmarket. Spanish fashion and perfume company Puig’s acquisition of a majority stake in fragrance co. Byredo in May demonstrates demand for luxury brands in this realm. In its own release in May, Puig said that the deal would help “reinforce [its] high-end positioning with a brand that has redefined luxury,” noting that Byredo’s “new luxury positioning will enhance Puig’s” lineup of brands, which include also Paul Gaultier, Paco Rabanne, and Charlotte Tilbury. (L’Oreal was also reportedly interested in a deal with Byredo.) 

A few quick hits …

–  Balenciaga garnered a whole lot of headlines this week after announcing that it has left Twitter in the wake of Elon Musk’s takeover. To date, no other major fashion/luxury brands have made similar moves.

–  Reuters dove into whether Twitter could successfully escape lawsuits over blue check impersonation lawsuits.

–  Reseller GOAT released its first annual seller report, highlighting hot-selling items and consumer trends on its platform.

On the litigation front: Kim Kardashian and Beauty Concepts – which does business as SKKN+ – seem to have settled their trademark battle over SKKN, the name of Kim K’s beauty brand, with Beauty Concepts filing a motion for voluntary dismissal on Thursday. Beauty Concepts’ consolidated opposition against Kardashian’s SKKN marks is still pending before the TTAB.And on the heels of a temporary restraining order, Drake and 21 Savage consented to a preliminary injunction in connection with their use of Vogue’s trademark to promote their new album. (For background on the case, you can find that here.)

In recent deal-making news: Aside from the Tom Ford, Estée Lauder deal 
– Bored Ape Yacht Club creator Yuga Labs confirmed the acquisition of WENEW Labs, a web3 service provider and platform “known for web3-centric partnerships with celebrated brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Playboy, Wimbledon, Gucci, Puma, and others.”
– Munich-based Sizekick raised €1.3 million for its SaaS solution that aimed to help cut down on returns in the fashion e-commerce space by providing artificial intelligence and computer vision tech-driven sizing.
– Anti-counterfeiting and digital piracy startup Red Points has raised €20 million to further build out its SaaS platform, which is used by brands – ranging rom Hugo Boss to Real Madrid and Puma – to fight counterfeits, privacy, impersonation and distribution abuse.