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By
Reuters
Published
Apr 24, 2013
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Shiseido writes down Bare Escentuals goodwill as company falls into red

By
Reuters
Published
Apr 24, 2013

TOKYO - Shiseido said on Wednesday it would write down its $1.9 billion acquisition of U.S. cosmetics firm Bare Escentuals due to disappointing sales, pushing the Japanese cosmetics giant to its first net loss in eight years.

Initially touted as a deal that would expand Shiseido's overseas reach, the Bare Escentuals deal may now be viewed as a cautionary tale for the growing number of Japanese companies seeking acquisitions to grow outside their mature home market.

Japanese companies have spent more than $300 billion on foreign assets since 2008, a historic boom in dealmaking that was sparked in part by the strengthening of the yen in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Shiseido, which purchased Bare Escentuals as part of that acquisition wave in 2010, said it would book a 28.6 billion yen ($287.84 million) impairment loss on the San Francisco-based company's intangible assets, or goodwill.

As a result, Shiseido said it would post a net loss of 14.7 billion yen for the business year ended in March, spilling red ink for the first time since 2005. It had previously forecast an annual profit of 10.5 billion yen.

Shiseido had touted the deal as a gateway into the fast-growing natural-ingredient cosmetics market as well as a way to beef up its retail presence in the United States where Bare Escentuals generates most of its sales.

In a press release on Wednesday Shiseido said it has made a concerted effort to make operations more efficient and invested to boost its brand profile in the U.S., but sales growth had fallen short of expectations.

"Bare Escentuals has taken longer than initially envisioned to grow its retail business. The gap between its sales budget and sales performance has been widening during recent months," the company said in the release.

The write-down comes on the heels of the abrupt resignation of Shiseido's president last month following a two-year stint during which earnings weakened and its market share declined in Asian markets amid tough price competition.

Hisayuki Suekawa stepped down due to health reasons, the company said. He was succeeded by Chairman Shinzo Maeda.

Shiseido's stock has risen 24 percent since the management shuffle was announced on March 11, double the gain in the benchmark Nikkei average .N225 over the same period. Prior to Wednesday's announcement, Shiseido closed the day up 5.6 percent at 1,580 yen.

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