This story was published on August 2, 2022 and updated on November 15, 2022
It's official: Estée Lauder Cos. will acquire Tom Ford for $2.8 billion, beating out reported competitor Kering in the bid to own Ford's fashion and beauty business.
Estée Lauder already holds the license to Tom Ford Beauty, a fragrance and makeup line that Ford developed in partnership with the group and launched in 2011. Now, the beauty conglomerate will extend its reach to the brand's apparel and accessories business.
As Business of Fashion noted, Estée Lauder will likely license the production and sale of said apparel and accessories to other companies, a move that could potentially dilute the brand.
Currently, Ermenegildo Zegna Group holds the license to Tom Ford's menswear and men's footwear, while Marcolin produces and distributes Tom Ford eyewear. It's unclear whether the deal will affect those relationships, as well as what direction Estée Lauder will take for Ford's womenswear division.
The acquisition signals a pivot for Estée Lauder, which has historically acquired beauty-first brands such as La Mer, Le Labo, and MAC Cosmetics. By stepping into fashion with a nearly $3 billion acquisition, the company appears to be angling to compete with Kering and LVMH.
Speaking of Kering, the fashion group — which employed Ford for a portion his tenure at Gucci — was in the running to acquire the designer's eponymous label, according to a report published in early November.
As prestige makeup and fragrance continues to grow, Kering is apparently interested in entering the sector. Buying Tom Ford, a fashion business that makes most of its money on its wildly popular fragrance range, would have been an ideal point of entry for the conglomerate.
"Beauty is definitely an area where we could contemplate some initiatives in the future and all options are open,” Kering's group managing director Jean-François Palus told WWD.