Stroll and Chou, whose Sportswear Holdings became the majority partners in Kors early this year, previously had worked with Lauder when the pair had been partners with Tommy Hilfiger when he had hooked up with the beauty company. In a statement, Stroll contended that they had taken the initiative in moving the Kors license to Lauder, rather than reacting to LVMH’s decision to divest.
Michael Kors described Lauder as “truly the bellwether in the beauty business…it’s what everyone else aspires to become. I know that with their expertise, my fragrance business is in the best of hands.”
“Silas and I were the Estée Lauder Companies’ first designer licensor with Hilfiger, and we look forward to new opportunities ahead with the Michael Kors business,” noted Stroll, co-chairman of Michael Kors LLC. “We approached the company a while ago about coming on board and taking Michael’s fragrance business to the next level, and together we have mapped out a long-term strategy that will allow us to maximize the brand while remaining true to Michael’s vision.”
Allison Ryba, interim president of Kors LLC, said the Lauder deal was “the first call Lawrence made” after taking his ownership position. “They are the perfect partner,” she said. “[Lauder] is the best at what they do.”
Patrick Choël, president of the LVMH Perfumes & Cosmetics Group in Paris, stated, “Under American Designer Fragrances’ talented leadership, Michael Kors fragrances have grown to be a sizable business in the U.S. Consistent with LVMH’s focus on its core businesses, this transaction follows the sale of the group’s interest in Michael Kors earlier this year and was done in conjunction with Sportswear Holdings, the new owner of the brand.”
Choël was referring to Sportswear Holdings’ acquisition of LVMH’s stake in Kors, along with the holdings of Onward Kashiyama USA and of Kors’ longtime business partner, John Orchulli. In March, Kors also announced that he would step down next year from his post as creative director of the LVMH-owned Celine brand. Meanwhile, Marc Jacobs remains the designer of LVMH’s Louis Vuitton fashion line.