Shiseido Acquires Dr. Dennis Gross – WWD

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The year may be coming to an end, but beauty companies are not yet done with M&A for 2023.

On the same day Unilever revealed its intention to buy K18, Shiseido has signed a definitive agreement to acquire DDG Skincare Holdings, the owner of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the brand is understood to be on track to surpass $300 million in retail sales this year.

The acquisition is viewed by Shiseido as a move to strengthen its core prestige skin care business, which includes brands Shiseido and Clé de Peau Beauté.

Masahiko Uotani, chairman and chief executive officer of Shiseido, said: “This transaction is well-aligned with Shiseido’s 2030 goal of becoming a personal beauty wellness company that supports people in realizing unique beauty and wellness throughout their lives. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare is the perfect complement to our global portfolio of prestige brands as their core values are aligned with ours in terms of their scientific and innovative approach to beauty and our people-first culture.”

In an interview, Carrie Gross, CEO and cofounder of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, said: “[Shiseido’s] goal is to become the beauty and wellness company that supports people globally. That’s where we sit because we are all about healthy skin. I will be able to focus all of my time and energy on our creative process, on my team, our clients around the world and all of our partners. They want me to do what I do best, which is engaging and connecting with our consumers.”

She launched the brand in 2000 with her husband, former skin cancer researcher and practicing dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross.

Known for its its Alpha Beta Peel, as well as its devices such as Dr Dennis Gross DRx Spectralite FaceWare Pro, the brand has flourished, but it wasn’t always that way.

At WWD’s Beauty CEO Summit, Carrie Gross explained that it launched at Sephora 22 years ago with the Alpha Beta Daily Peel, around the same time that Kim Cattrall’s character in “Sex and the City,” Samantha Jones, had a chemical peel, leaving her face red and blotchy in one episode. 

“It was disruptive at the time hence ‘Sex and the City,’ which was real life and it sort of set the bar for our standards of delivering efficacy,” she said. “Our consumers have high expectations of all of our products. The Alpha Beta set the bar for us and we continue to innovate year after year, but we never stepped away from our core. It’s a wonderful thing to see the loyalty and experience the journey that we’re on with our clients. She might find us when she’s 15 and start to have some breakouts and then pretty soon she’s entering the job market. And then she’s getting married and then she’s having a baby and then all of a sudden she’s going through menopause, maybe not that fast, but in any case we’re in it with her for the journey.”

The brand took an investment from private equity firm Main Post in 2020 in the throes of the pandemic. At that point, industry sources estimated Dr. Gross’ sales to reach $100 million at retail in 2020.

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