October 8, 2019

Shiseido Pays $845 Million To Acquire Drunk Elephant

It’s finally happened! Shiseido paid $845 Million to acquire Drunk Elephant after many rumors and speculation about whether the deal was going to happen especially since Estee Lauder was apparently bidding on the brand as well but in the end Shiseido won out and hopes that bringing Drunk Elephant into their fold will strengthen the footprint of the company in the global beauty industry.

Drunk Elephant avoids essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrance and dyes, and SLS keeping their brand of skincare very clean. Being purchased by a Japanese brand one wonder if the ingredients and formulas will remain the same. Japanese skincare is notorious for putting alcohol into many of their most popular skincare lines. This doesn’t mean Drunk Elephant will face the same treatment but let’s be honest once a company is sold changes will happen, it’s unavoidable.

Tiffany Masterson, chief creative officer and president of Drunk Elephant, says “I started this business as an industry outsider, and from the beginning I did things a little differently,” Masterson said. “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. 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.”

I hope she stays on with the company but I have my doubts. Look what happened with Jamie Kern after the sale of It Cosmetics.

For now though, Tiffany Masterson continues her role as chief creative officer and the titled president. The transaction of the sale of Drunk Elephant will close out at the end of the year and Drunk Elephant will operate within the US.

What do you think of the Shiseido purchasing Drunk Elephant?


About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Beth Ryan

    UGH! My first thought was will Drunk Elephant remain cruelty-free???

  • Chelsey

    Well I hope they don’t add crap to it! I love their face oil and eye cream. I don’t want to find a new brand!

  • mpark

    Love this post! It’s a huge deal and I definitely envy the bankers that got to work on this deal (I used to be one, so I find this kind of stuff interesting). I’m always disappointed when I see these deals inked so early on in the acquired company’s life. Drunk Elephant hasn’t even been; the company was established in 2012. While I understand that Tiffany would want to get the deal done when the company’s valuation is at its highest (it probably was), I can’t help but have a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I think this mainly comes from me anticipating that a lot of the DE formulas that I enjoy will change for the worse. I do not like Shiseido skincare so… I’m just hoping that they’ll keep things segregated initially and that Tiffany will not be stepping down within short-term future.

    • Isabella Muse

      I completely agree! DE is still in their infancy but the fact it was sold comes as little surprise considering the height of its popularity at the moment. Get going while the going is good as they say! I like Shiseido skincare too but let’s not forget they aren’t exactly known for the best ingredients at times! Alcohol being one that makes an appearance most often and of course, fragrance. I doubt that would make an appearance in DE formulas BUT you know at some point something will change and let’s hope it is for the better and not the worst 🙁

  • kjh

    Not so sure they will mess with DE. We didn’t see lots of changes with NARS, Bare Minerals, Cle. I think they are the biggest global player. But, speaking of alcohol, they also own Sea Breeze, a blast from the past, from when we didn’t know better. I doubt they would change the general tenor of DE, but they might source ingredients more cheaply. I read somewhere that China no longer requires animal testing. Not sure that is true. IDK if that means that NARS could regain CF status. Shiseido knows that CF is one of DE’s main draws, so why do it?

  • Mary Brenner

    It’s just business big companies buy small companies all the time. I’m a corporate raider so I see this ALL the time. Drunk Elephant as a brand has never been of interest to me as a consumer however the market has a very sharp eye on this transaction and time will tell as things shake out what really happened at the negotiations table. Stay tuned girls I think this will be an interesting story to see unfold

  • CL

    Just what I would expect from *everyone* who has a cosmetic or skincare company right now. If it’s successful, sell out for the really big bucks so your life is on easy street from here on out.
    I’m sure this is *why* most people are plunging into this world – they’re trying to become the next multi-millionaire/billionaire in the world. I’m sure the ex-owner hanging on in an executive capacity is totally meaningless. You can be sure they have no real power in the company.

  • Mari

    I love the brand. A little disappointed, to be honest. In time, Drunk Elephant will not be the same. Thank you for letting us all know!

    • Isabella Muse

      My pleasure! I completely agree! I’m skeptical if it’ll remain the same!

  • Rebecca

    I love Shiseido foundations, so I find myself wondering, will we see a Drunk Elephant/Shiseido foundation hybrid type product? If they keeps with the clean Drunk Elephant ethos and add in that Shiseido cosmetics technology, there could be the world’s best foundation on the horizon. (I’m trying to stay optimistic.)

  • Elaine

    SAD! The only product I use. I have been trying new products since I heard about this sad idea. We all know that things will change. I just wish company’s would tell themselves “Don’t fix what’s not broken!”. We will see what happens after next year. I will be stocking up on my favorites tho.

  • Michelle

    As a rosacea sufferer, DE is basically the only brand of moisturizers I can wear, since no fragrances or other irritants are found there, plus the products are so well made with highly effective formulations (something I really appreciate as a Chemist). I only hope the founder still has a measure of control and remains involved so that DE isn’t compromised. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  • K

    Tiffany Masterson is not ethical in my opinion. I’ve used vitamin c serum for almost 20 years now. I can tell when a formula is bad when the clear to very pale yellow liquid turns yellow then orange. I believe that to avoid consumer detection of when a serum turns bad, Drunk Elephant decided to add ingredients that essentially color their serum so people cannot tell when it turns bad. Vitamin C serum that has gone bad is actually harmful to the skin. I had the Drunk Elephant c serum turn bad quickly and when I contacted customer service they insist that it was ok to use and would not help me. I lost my Sephora receipt and was not a member at the time, so I could not turn to them. Sure enough, Drunk Elephant soon changed its shelf life recommendation for the c serum. I vowed not to buy Drunk Elephant ever again and am glad to hear there are new owners!!!