Beiersdorf to Take Coppertone from Bayer
Bayer has found a buyer for its US-headquartered Coppertone sun care business, announcing on May 13 plans to sell the product line to German consumer chemical company Beiersdorf. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter, subject to regulatory and other approvals.
The Hamburg-based company specializing in skin care products has agreed to pay $550 million for the business the German life sciences and former chemicals group acquired with Merck & Co’s consumer products division in 2014.
With the divestment, Bayer said its healthcare business – separate from pharmaceuticals – will concentrate on building up its over-the-counter drugs franchise.
Plans to sell Coppertone, which analysts said was one of the less profitable products in the package acquired from Merck, were announced last November by Bayer CEO Werner Baumann as part of a major overhaul of the Leverkusen group’s global organizational structure up to 2022 in the wake of its $63 billion takeover of US agrochemicals giant Monsanto.
Beiersdorf, which is listed in the German DAX benchmark equities index, will assume the global product rights to Coppertone and take over some 450 dedicated brand personnel in Sales and Marketing, Research & Development in the US, Canada and China as well as a US production facility in Cleveland, Tennessee.
The Coppertone brand launched in 1944 was the first sun care product line in the US market. The company headquartered in Whippany, New Jersey, generated sales of $213 million in 2018.
With the acquisition, Beiersdorf will enter the world’s largest sun care market and strengthen its presence in North America. Coppertone will become the fifth brand in its skin care portfolio sold in North America, complementing the labels Nivea, Eucerin, Aquaphor and La Prairie with the sun care brands Nivea Sun and Eucerin Sun.
Commenting on the deal, Beiersdorf CEO Stefan de Loecker said his company is “convinced that Coppertone and its team will add complementary expertise to our leading brand portfolio and significantly strengthen our position particularly in the US.”
In the 2019 first quarter, the German company’s sales growth in North America lagged most of the rest of the group. The new CEO, who took over the job in January, is said to be looking for acquisitions to spend some of its more than €400 billion cash reserves rather than returning all of it to shareholders.