Melissa Juried Kriebel
Estée Lauder announced this week it is acquiring Tom Ford’s eponymous fashion company— likely making the designer a billionaire. The cosmetics company, which owns several other brands like MAC and Clinique, said it bought the brand in a deal valued at $2.8 billion and finalized this week.
As part of the deal, Estée Lauder Companies, Inc. acquires both the Tom Ford brand for $2.3 billion and Marcolin, which holds the license for Tom Ford eyewear, for $250 million, according to a news release. The designer will walk away with an estimated $1.1 billion, according to Forbes.
Estée Laude is now the sole owner of the Tom Ford brand and all its intellectual property, according to a news release. The company already had a deal with Tom Ford Beauty, but will now keep the license past its original 2030 expiration and will no longer have to pay royalty payments.
Tom Ford Beauty achieved nearly 25% net sales growth at the end of Estée Lauder’s fiscal year in June 2022, as compared with the prior year. Estée Lauder expects the brand rake in $1 billion in net sales, according to the news release.
As for the newly acquired fashion house, Ford, 61, will continue to serve as the creative head of the brand through 2023. Chairman of Tom Ford International Domenico De Sole will also stay on as a consultant through 2023.
Ford’s company already has a longstanding licensing deal with fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna, also known as Zegna, for accessories and underwear, which will be expanded under the deal. Ford’s licensing agreement with Marcolin, for eyewear, will also be “substantially extended,” according to the news release.
Estée Lauder expects to fund the transaction through a combination of cash, debt and $300 million in deferred payments to the sellers that become due beginning in July 2025.
“I could not be happier with this acquisition as The Estée Lauder Companies is the ideal home for the brand,” Ford said in a statement. “They have been an extraordinary partner from the first day of my creation of the company and I am thrilled to see them become the luxury stewards in this next chapter of the Tom Ford brand.”
Ford became creative director of Gucci in 1994 and then creative director of Yves Saint Laurent when Gucci acquired the fashion house in 2000. During his time as Gucci’s creative director, the company saw 1,200% growth in sales – nearly $3 billion, according to Forbes. Ford and his business partner, De Sole, helped Gucci acquire Balenciaga and Bottega Veneta.
When French fashion billionaire François Pinault, who founded luxury group Kering, acquired Gucci, Ford left and started his own label, Tom Ford, in 2005.
With the acquisition of his fashion brand by Estée Lauder, Ford is now a billionaire, according to Forbes. He will get about $1.1 billion in cash from the sale, after taxes, since he has owned about 64% of the company since 2013, according to a tax filing.
Ford’s net worth is also made up of two homes – in Los Angeles and New York City – worth a collective $65 million, according to Forbes, and his total net worth is now estimated to be $1.2 billion.
He also launched a film company, Fade to Black, in 2005, and has also directed two films. “A Single Man” (2009) starred Colin Firth, who was nominated for best actor at the Academy Awards, and Julianne Moore. “Nocturnal Animals” (2015) starred Jake Gylllenhall and Amy Adams.