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Coty Courts 'Housewives' and Kose

Is there a whiff of Wisteria in the air? Certainly if it's up to Coty Inc.

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Beetz has often said his ultimate goal is to make Coty the leading fragrance company globally. Coty's net fragrance sales globally are approaching $3 billion, according to the company. Of that, prestige fragrances, industry observers estimate, account for about $1.5 billion in global sales.

In addition to the successful celebrity licenses Beetz has added over the past couple of years, he's been on a buying spree of late. Last May, Coty spent $800 million to acquire the designer fragrance licenses formerly held by Unilever Prestige International — Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, Cerruti, Chloé and Lagerfeld; it had purchased Nautica from UCI previously.

Coty had also purchased several businesses owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, namely the designer fragrance licenses of Marc Jacobs and Kenneth Cole. These designer fragrances are in addition to the firm's considerable mass fragrance business, which includes the Mary-kateandashley, Celine Dion, Adidas and Stetson brands.

Since the beginning of 2006, Coty has also restructured parts of its beauty business. In response to the changing department store landscape, the company restructured its prestige fragrance business, combining the old Lancaster Group and the old Unilever Cosmetics International units into one organization, Coty Prestige Beauty.

Two distinct sales divisions have been formed as well. The prestige department stores division, which mirrors the organizational structure of Federated Department Stores, is being overseen by Dominic Pisani, senior vice president of sales. A second U.S. sales group, for specialty stores, is headed by Dennis Keogh, senior vice president of specialty stores. Keogh's division is charged with the responsibility of growing sales in Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and specialty boutiques, among others. Both Pisani and Keogh now report to Bob Cankes, president of Coty Prestige North America.

Coty executives broadly describe the deal with Touchstone as a partnership in the sense of a grand alliance. That same dynamic is at work in the second announcement made Thursday, which represents a geographic alliance. Under the terms of this deal, Japanese beauty giant Kose will distribute Coty's Rimmel brand in Japan. This follows last week's announcement that Coty Prestige is taking over the U.S. distribution for Puig's beauty brands, which include Prada and Carolina Herrera. Rimmel had previously been distributed in Asia by EIDA.

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