L’Oréal Acquires Matrix Essentials Investors-Shareholders

L'Oréal S.A., the world's leading cosmetics company, today announced the signing of an agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb whereby Cosmair, Inc., L'Oréal's wholly owned U.S. subsidiary, would acquire its Matrix Essentials division.

Matrix is the leading manufacturer of haircare products for the professional salon industry in North America. It manufactures and markets shampoo, haircolor, styling and hair care products sold exclusively through beauty salons. Its product line includes several popular brands, such as Biolage, SoColor, Opticurl and Amplify, which are distributed in 80,000 hair salons throughout the U.S.

In 1999, Matrix had sales of $342 million, with North America accounting for approximately 90 percent of its total sales. Its products are also distributed in Europe primarily in the U.K., Italy and Scandinavia, as well as Australia. Matrix currently employs approximately 1,000 people.

This acquisition will reinforce L'Oréal's commitment to the beauty salon industry and its partnership with distributors and hairstylists. "Matrix has an outstanding reputation among hairdressers," said Guy Peyrelongue, president and CEO of Cosmair. "With Matrix, we will become the U.S. leader in professional hair products, where we already enjoy great success with such brands as Redken 5th Ave, L'Oréal Professionnel and Kerastase."

"Matrix will be an ideal complement to our division's portfolio since it provides a brand with a very broad distribution and audience reach," said Alain Leprince-Ringuet, vice president of L'Oréal in charge of Professional Products Division. "It will also help us pass the 10 billion French francs threshold of annual sales for the division."

According to Lindsay Owen-Jones, chairman and CEO of L'Oréal S.A., "With the acquisition of Matrix, the Group will significantly reinforce its worldwide leadership in the professional salon industry. We foresee very fast international development for this outstanding brand. This acquisition strengthens L'Oréal's position in the hair products market, one of the most strategic categories for the Group."

The transaction is expected to close sometime during the second quarter. Terms of the transaction have not been announced. The completion of the acquisition is subject to customary governmental and corporate board approvals.

L'Oréal S.A., based in Paris, is the world's largest cosmetics company, with 1999 consolidated sales of Euro 10.7 billion. Operating in more than 150 countries and employing more than 42,000 people, L'Oréal Group companies manufacture and market such well known brands as L'Oréal, L'Oréal Professionnelle, Lancôme, Maybelline, Laboratoires Garnier, Redken 5th Ave., Soft Sheen, Ralph Lauren Fragrances, Giorgio Armani Parfums, Biotherm and Helena Rubinstein.

Cosmair, Inc. is headquartered in New York City and manages U.S. research, administration, and manufacturing and distribution facilities in New Jersey, Kentucky, Arkansas, Illinois and Colorado, as well as in the Caribbean.