Coty’s New Collection: Snags Jacobs and Cole Scents From LVMH

Coty Inc. has purchased the beauty licenses for Kenneth Cole and Marc Jacobs from LVMH for an estimated $45 million to $50 million.

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According to industry sources, Marc Jacobs’ women’s fragrance, which is in limited distribution, rang up retail sales of $19.5 million in 2002 and $5.7 million for 2003 through mid-May in U.S. department and specialty stores. His men’s fragrance did $2.8 million in 2002 and $1.9 million this spring.

Cole had a mirror experience, racking up $14.7 million for his men’s fragrance in 2002 and $7.7 million for women’s. For this spring, the Cole men’s scent did $4.2 million and the women’s did $2.4 million, according to industry sources.

Patrick Choël, president of the LVMH Perfumes & Cosmetics Group, said in a statement, “The formation of [the American Designer Fragrance division] was a substantial effort that delivered value, innovation and increased visibility in the marketplace for LVMH. This will deliver ongoing benefit to the group as we work to further build our core fragrance brands.”

The architect of ADF, Camille McDonald, is the head of the Givenchy and Guerlain businesses in this country and she intends to turn her full attention to the American businesses of Guerlain and Givenchy. While predicting the “two powerful and evocative fragrance collections [of Jacobs and Cole] will continue to thrive with their new licensing partner,” McDonald stated that “we will be able to focus our resources and creativity on capitalizing on the success of Parfums Givenchy and Guerlain in the U.S market.”

In an interview Thursday, McDonald seemed philosophical, asserting that the sale of the licenses provided a double benefit. The creation of the ADF business provided a value that could be “harvested” while allowing management to prune and streamline operations. “We were gaining value at the same time we were streamlining,” she said.

The final question mark concerned McDonald herself. For weeks, rumors have circulated as industry figures speculated that she may leave LVMH for another job at Lauder, Coty or elsewhere. Her response Thursday was to the point: “I have no plans to leave LVMH.”

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