Natura &Co sells The Body Shop to private investor Aurelius Group
The sale of the global cosmetics brand – for a fraction of the price that was paid for it – could have implications for The Body Shop’s B Corp status.
Private equity firm Aurelius has announced it will purchase The Body Shop for £207m from Brazilian B Corp Natura &Co.
Aurelius has completed a number of recent corporate carve-outs across Europe, including acquisitions of brands such as Footasylum from JD Sports and LSG Sky Chefs (LSG Group) from Deutsche Lufthansa AG.
The Body Shop, which is headquartered in London and employs around 7,000 staff across 900 company-owned stores in 20 countries, has been B Corp-certified since 2019. It was founded in 1976 by environmental and human rights campaigner Dame Anita Roddick and was a pioneer of ethically-sourced, cruelty-free products.
- Read more: ‘No B Corp, no bonus’ - Body Shop to staff
After 11 years under the sometimes controversial ownership of cosmetics giant L'Oréal, The Body Shop was acquired in 2017 for €1bn by Natura &Co. The founding company of Natura &Co, called Natura, became the world’s largest publicly listed company to achieve B Corp status in 2014.
What is a B Corp?
Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet high standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Achieving B Corp certification requires meeting minimum standards on various scores, with assessments to be repeated every three years. There are currently more than 2,500 certified B Corps in 50 countries.
Aurelius’ purchase may have implications for The Body Shop’s B Corp status. Sources confirmed to us that, in most cases, when there is a change of control within a business, the new entity must recertify within one year of the change in order to maintain B Corp status.
'Deeply grateful to Natura'
Ian Bickley, CEO of The Body Shop, said: “We are deeply grateful to Natura &Co for their unwavering support and I’m looking forward to working hand in hand with Aurelius as we adapt and flourish in new global retail environments, always with an eye on sustainable and profitable growth.”
In a LinkedIn post, Bickley added: “Aurelius has an impressive track record of returning companies to sustainable and profitable growth and the deal, which is still subject to regulatory approvals, should close by the end of 2023.”
In April, Natura announced a deal to sell luxury brand Aesop to L’Oreal for an enterprise value of $2.53bn. Fabio Barbosa, Natura & CO CEO, was quoted by Reuters saying: “Refocused, deleveraged and leaner, Natura &Co will now be able to fully concentrate on its core relationship selling expertise in Latin America while also continuing the optimisation of Avon International’s footprint.”
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