Kao, the parent of Kanebo, has decided to integrate the two companies more fully, following criticism from the Japanese government of Kanebo’s delay in recalling its skin whitening products, which had caused skin blotches.
Kao, Japan’s equivalent of Procter & Gamble, acquired Kanebo in 2006, following Kanebo falling into financial difficulties, having been found out to have “window dressed” its financial reporting. This was the cause of much punning at the time, as Kanebo is a cosmetics company, and window dressing is known as “powdering the face” in Japan.
Kao says it kept Kanebo at arm’s length “out of respect for a company that has been in the cosmetics business much longer than Kao has, with cooperation limited to such steps as integration of distribution sites and joint procurement of materials.”
Kao is huge in the Japanese domestic market, and has made a few forays into Europe and North America, largely through the acquisition of professional haircare brands (such as Goldwell, Jergens, John Frieda) and upmarket retail beauty brands such as Molton Brown.
For more content like this, subscribe to the free Rudlin Consulting Newsletter.