Midland skincare brand Simple has been bought by a US-based rival for £240 million.
Private equity house Duke Street has sold the Solihull-based firm, one of the UK’s fastest growing skincare brands, to beauty business Alberto Culver Company.
Under Duke Street’s ownership Simple Health & Beauty sales have grown at 15 per cent a year, to £61 million in 2008.
The move comes just days after chief executive Geoff Percy handed over the reins of the West Midlands CBI to new chairman John Russell.
A spokesman for Simple said is was “business as usual” for the 58 West Midlands workers.
Duke Street’s managing partner Peter Taylor commented: “We are proud to have helped Simple grow to become one of the leading skincare brands in the UK. Its “David and Goliath” appeal has enabled it to overtake larger, global brands in the domestic market.
“This has been a great deal for our investors and we remain committed to pursuing attractive opportunities in the consumer sector.”
Simple has introduced a broad range of new products in recent years, which has helped to increase the number of consumers by 50 in 24 months, to 5.5 million. Simple is now the number one female facial skincare brand in the UK.
Mr Percy and finance director Peter Hatherly created Simple when they led an MBO from Smith & Nephew in 2000. They were initially backed by ABN Amro Capital, who sold to Duke Street four years later.
Mr Percy said: “Two periods of private equity ownership and investment have been the engine of our remarkable growth over the last nine years, along with the exceptional talent and commitment of our employees.
“Being owned by an entrepreneurial global business now gives us the opportunity for significant domestic and international growth.”
V. James Marino, president of Alberto Culver, said: “We are extremely pleased that we will be acquiring this strong skincare brand in one of our most important markets. The team at Duke Street and Simple have done a terrific job in growing this business to a leadership position in the UK and our team is very excited to add Simple into our strong beauty care portfolio.”