Shiseido Acquires Clean Beauty Brand Drunk Elephant for $845 Million

The cult-favorite skincare brand was founded in 2012

drunk elephant skincare products
Drunk Elephant first rolled out in August 2013. Drunk Elephant, BusinessWire
Headshot of Ann-Marie Alcántara

Japanese beauty and personal care brand Shiseido has acquired clean beauty company Drunk Elephant.

According to Bloomberg, the $845 million deal will allow Drunk Elephant to use Shiseido’s infrastructure to expand into Europe and Asia, as well continuing to reach more markets in the U.S. Drunk Elephant is set to bring in more than $100 million in sales this year.

Drunk Elephant was founded in 2012 by Tiffany Masterson with the mission of using nontoxic ingredients, and has achieved cult status among beauty fans. She now serves as its founding partner and chief creative officer.

“Drunk Elephant is changing the way people understand and experience beauty by offering products that are effective and clean-compatible,” said Marc Rey, CEO of Shiseido Americas and the company’s chief growth officer, in a statement. “Drunk Elephant is built on a strong brand foundation and a unique philosophy that fits perfectly with Shiseido’s values and skincare heritage. Our innovative and people-first cultures are well aligned.”

The acquisition is part of Shiseido’s Vision 2020 goal, first announced in 2014 to expand the company by growing new brands, removing silos between teams and devote resources to ecommerce. With the acquisition, the 147-year-old Shiseido hopes to reach a younger audience of millennials and Gen Z.

Earlier this year, several outlets reported Drunk Elephant’s search for a buyer, including potentially Unilever. That company did acquire 10-year-old beauty brand Tatcha for a reported $500 million.

This past June, Drunk Elephant opened a temporary pop-up shop in New York, its first in the U.S. after holding similar activations in Singapore and London.

“To join with a powerhouse beauty company such as Shiseido that leads the industry in innovation and global excellence is a dream come true for me and for Drunk Elephant,” Masterson said in a statement. “We share similar values, most importantly an unwavering commitment to the consumer. I chose a partner who will let the brand continue to be itself, with the same formulations and the same team.”

@itstheannmarie Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.