Shiseido to buy Bare Escentuals for $1.7 billion

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TOKYO (AP) — Shiseido Co. said Friday it will buy San Francisco-based Bare Escentuals Inc. for $1.7 billion, a step forward in the Japanese cosmetic giant’s plan to boost its global presence.

Shiseido will offer to buy all outstanding shares of the company for $18.20 a share, which represents a 43 percent premium over Bare Escentuals’ closing price on the Nasdaq Thursday. The transaction, Shiseido’s biggest takeover deal, was unanimously approved by both boards of directors.

Bare Escentuals will operate as a separate division of Shiseido under its current leadership, Shiseido said. The 34-year-old company is known for its bareMinerals and Buxom cosmetic brands sold in U.S. department stores and specialty retailers.

“Together with Shiseido, we look forward to bringing our mineral-based beauty products to even more women worldwide,” Bare Escentuals chief executive Leslie Blodgett said in a statement.

Shiseido is Japan’s biggest cosmetics company with operations in more than 70 countries. It wants to expand its goal reach, however, and is aiming to boost overseas sales to 50 percent of overall revenue by 2017.

“This acquisition futher enables Shiseido to move toward our goal of becoming a global player,” said President Shinzo Maeda.

Bare Escentuals’ business has grown steadily over the last several years, with net income up 11 percent in 2008 to $98 million. Sales grew 9 percent to $556.2 million.

Investors cheered the news in Tokyo. Shiseido shares rose 4 percent to 2,020 yen at the end of the morning session, beating the Nikkei 225 index’s 0.2 percent decline.