Pola Orbis Holdings to Acquire H2O Plus, LLC

By May 30, 2011News

TOKYO – May 30, 2011 – Pola Orbis Holdings Inc. (“Pola Orbis”), one of Japan’s leading cosmetics companies, today reached a definitive agreement to acquire H2O Plus, LLC (“H2O Plus”), a privately-held leading developer, manufacturer, and marketer of prestige, branded, marine-based natural skincare products for the face and body. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, H2O Plus is majority-owned by investment companies Cordova, Smart & Williams, LLC and New MainStream Capital, LLC, as well as Robert Seidl and other members of senior management.

Pola Orbis aims to accelerate its growth in global markets and achieve by 2020 consolidated sales of ¥250 billion (U.S. $3 billion), an operating margin that is among the top in the industry (13–15%), an overseas sales percentage of 20% and to realize its long-term vision of becoming a “highly profitable global enterprise.” In 2011, the first year of its current medium-term management plan, Pola Orbis has actively considered business opportunities such as M&A and strategic alliances, etc., as well as the promotion of its core brands (Pola and Orbis).

H2O Plus has a large and fast growing global footprint, with more than 2,000 prestige retail points of distribution in 22 countries, including deep penetration in North America (the largest skincare market in the world), Asia (the fastest growing skincare region in the world), and an expanding presence in Europe and Latin America. H2O Plus will strengthen Pola Orbis’ global business base, and Pola Orbis expects synergies through the integration of Pola Orbis’ strengths in research & development and marketing while capitalizing on H2O Plus’ appealing brand concept and retail distribution channels via local distributors.

“H2O Plus has a sharp brand identity and adds a distinct uniqueness to the Pola Orbis portfolio of seven brands. Pola Orbis targets to increase its presence in global markets in the mid-term management plan, and we believe a partnership with H2O Plus will be mutually beneficial,” said Satoshi Suzuki, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pola Orbis. “Pola Orbis will build a shared relationship with H2O Plus through communication, and we are confident in H2O Plus’ further growth through an integration of Pola Orbis’ expertise in R&D, marketing, and management.”

“H2O Plus is delighted about its new alliance with Pola Orbis, which brings a rich history of successful management and strong investment in research and development,” said Robert Seidl, President and Chief Executive Officer of H2O Plus. “Our new partnership with Pola Orbis will accelerate the growth of the H2O Plus brand in the world’s largest and fastest growing skincare markets.”

Citi is acting as exclusive financial advisor, while Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu are acting as joint legal advisors to Pola Orbis in connection with the transaction. BofA Merrill Lynch is acting as exclusive financial advisor and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP is acting as legal advisor to H2O Plus in connection with the transaction. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in July 2011.

About Pola Orbis Holdings Inc.:
Pola Orbis, the fourth leading cosmetic company in Japan, has been developing its business model around the cosmetics industry with a recurring theme of “beauty and health” since its founding in 1929. Pola Orbis also operates in overseas markets, including China and Russia, employing a multi-channel strategy with multiple brands to meet diversified customer demands and increase market share. With its 26 consolidated subsidiaries, Pola Orbis has consolidated sales of ¥165.2 billion (U.S. $2 billion) for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2010. For more information on Pola Orbis, please visit www.po-holdings.co.jp

About H2O Plus, LLC:
H2O Plus, LLC is a leading developer, manufacturer, and marketer of prestige, branded, water- based skincare products for the face and body. The company markets an expansive portfolio of 500 proprietary, company-owned formulations based on the principle of establishing clean, natural alternatives to the pore-clogging products pervasive in the personal care products market. Through its unique ingredient concept, H2O Plus combines “water plus” natural sea-derived nutrients and state-of-the-art technology to improve and maintain healthy and youthful-looking skin. For more information on H2O Plus, please visit www.h2oplus.com