Johnson & Johnson makes $2.1 billion offer to buy out Japan cosmetics firm Ci:z

TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. healthcare conglomerate Johnson & Johnson JNJ.N said on Tuesday it will buy all outstanding shares of Japanese skincare firm Ci:z Holdings Co Ltd 4924.T that it does not already own for 230 billion yen ($2.05 billion) in cash.

J&J is betting the deal - which will give it ownership of popular brands such as Dr.Ci:Labo, Labo Labo and Genomer - will help it strengthen its international innovation pipeline.

The purchase adds to a flurry of cosmetics deals in Asia in recent years, as global brands seek to expand in a booming region that includes the $53.5 billion China market by leveraging Asian brands’ smart online marketing and fast turnaround times for new products.

France's L'Oreal SA OREP.PA agreed to buy South Korean makeup and fashion firm Nanda in May, and Unilever NV UNc.AS bought cosmetics firm Carver Korea for $2.7 billion last year. LVMH LVMH.PA and Estee Lauder Companies Inc EL.N have also invested in South Korean cosmetics firms.

J&J will pay 5,900 yen per Ci:z share, a 55 percent premium over Tuesday’s closing price, and also acquire the shares owned by the Japanese firm’s founder Yoshinori Shirono, J&J said in a statement.

CIC Corp, the founder’s ownership vehicle, is the biggest shareholder of the dermo-cosmetics specialist with a 27.96 percent interest, showed Refinitiv data.

J&J is the second-largest shareholder, owning 19.9 percent through an affiliate since 2016, allowing it to distribute Ci:z’s brands outside of Japan. J&J expects the full acquisition will help it leverage the large consumer database of the collagen gel and medical skin products maker.

“This transaction will maximise value creation ... by bringing in an agile innovation model and rapidly accelerating sales through our global commercialization expertise,” Jorge Mesquita, worldwide chairman at Johnson & Johnson’s consumer division, said in the statement.

J&J, which has been selling businesses such as diabetes care devices to focus on better-performing units and product development, plans to launch the tender offer on Oct. 29.

($1 = 112.3500 yen)

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Chris Gallagher; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Muralikumar Anantharaman