Shareholders mount class action lawsuit against Coty
NYC-based cosmetics conglomerate Coty, Inc. and certain of its officers are facing a class action lawsuit from shareholders claiming that the company provided misleading information about its acquisitions of the P&G specialty beauty business and Kylie Cosmetics.
Filed by New York law firm Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman, on behalf of shareholders who acquired Coty securities between October 3, 2016 and May 28, 2020, the lawsuit seeks to recover damages for alleged violations of federal securities laws under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
According to the complaint, despite the company’s experience in the industry, Coty was not adequately positioned to properly value the acquisitions of the P&G specialty beauty business and Kylie Cosmetics, and therefore overpaid on both occasions.
The lawsuit further alleges that Coty did not have adequate infrastructure to undertake the smooth integration of the brands the company acquired from P&G and, as a result, had failed to successfully integrate them and deliver synergies.
The complaint therefore concludes that, during the period covered by the class action, “Coty's financial statements and defendants' statements about Coty's business, operations, and prospects, were materially false and/or misleading at all relevant times.”
The completion of the merger between Coty and P&G’s specialty beauty business in October 2016 made the company the third-largest beauty group in the world at the time.
For $12.5 billion, Coty acquired makeup brands including Covergirl, Max Factor and Sally Hansen, as well as haircare brand Wella and a slew of fragrance licenses, such as Hugo Boss, Gucci and Lacoste. The company also assumed around $1.9 billion in debt from the P&G specialty beauty business.
Coty first announced that it was acquiring a 51% stake in Kylie Cosmetics in November 2019 and closed the $600 million deal in January of this year. At the time the company also appointed Christoph Honnefelder as CEO of the brand, charging him with overseeing a strategic partnership focused on developing Kylie Cosmetics through global expansion and the exploration of new product categories.
Honnefelder has since exited the company, leaving Coty’s president for luxury brands, Simona Cattaneo, to oversee the expansion of the brand.
Coty reported annual net revenues of $6.74 billion in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020, down 22% from the previous year, while net loss at the company was $1.01 billion, or $1.33 per diluted share.
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