Nestle Forms Alliance With Bieber's Fave Acne Cure Proactiv

  • Food maker branching out beyond chocolate, pizza and coffee
  • Venture to expand Proactiv in Europe, South America, Asia

Nestle SA agreed to form a joint venture with the maker of Proactiv, one of the world’s best-selling acne treatments, pushing further into skin care amid a sluggish food and beverages market.

The maker of DiGiorno pizza and Hot Pockets microwaveable sandwiches will own a majority stake in the venture with Guthy-Renker, a Santa Monica-based direct marketing company, Nestle said in a statement on Thursday. Guthy-Renker sells $29.95 Proactiv treatment sets over the Internet, helped by celebrity endorsements by Lindsay Lohan and Justin Bieber.

“Proactiv would be a good match for Nestle, it’s exactly what they want,” said Jean-Philippe Bertschy, an analyst at Bank Vontobel AG in Zurich, ahead of the announcement. Women’s Wear Daily reported previously Nestle was in talks to buy the brand.

Nestle Chief Executive Officer Paul Bulcke spent more than $5 billion in 2014 to build a bigger dermatology business. The food company acquired the rest of its Galderma joint venture and rights to corrective facial aesthetics treatments from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. The latest move gives Nestle another leg up in skin care at a time when it’s struggling to revive sales after years of spotty growth in prepared food.

Proactiv, which contains benzoyl peroxide, which fights zits, is mainly sold in the U.S. The new venture may expand it in Europe, South America and Asia, a Nestle spokesman said. U.S. dermatologists Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields started selling the treatment in 1995.

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