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Skincare giant gobbling up Burnaby mall Deciem store in mega-deal

Based out of Metropolis at Metrotown

One of Burnaby’s most popular skincare stores is about to be gobbled up by a global cosmetics giant.

Estee Lauder has struck a deal to buy Canadian skincare company Deciem Beauty Group Inc. at a valuation of US$2.2 billion.

Deciem operates a few stores in Metro Vancouver, including at Burnaby’s biggest mall, Metropolis at Metrotown.

The agreement will see Estee Lauder purchase the company behind the popular skin care brand The Ordinary in two phases. 

Estee Lauder said the first phase of the deal, which is expected to close by June 30, will see the company increase its stake in Deciem to 76 per cent from 29 per cent for US$1 billion.

The American multinational manufacturer of skincare, makeup, fragrance and hair care products said it has agreed to buy the remaining interests after a three-year period at an amount to be determined based on Deciem's future performance. 

It said Deciem, which calls itself The Abnormal Beauty Company, is an "industry disruptor with a consumer-focused approach."

The skincare company was founded in 2013 by the late Brandon Truaxe, a computer scientist and cosmetics entrepreneur.

While he oversaw Estee Lauder's initial investment in Deciem 2017, dealings between the companies became strained the following year after Truaxe alleged "major criminal activity" by employees and said he would be shutting stores. 

The closures sparked outcry from Deciem fans and beauty behemoth Estee Lauder took him to court and ultimately had him removed from the company's leadership. 

Nicola Kilner, co-founder and CEO of Deciem, said in a statement that Truaxe dreamed Estee Lauder would be the "forever home" for the Canadian skincare company.

In a followup email, she said 2018 was a "very tough year" for Deciem, which faced "adversity no company wants to prepare for."

Still, Kilner said Truaxe was inspired by Leonard Lauder, heir to the cosmetics giant, and "in awe of the family approach Lauder has to business."

"Whilst we experienced this difficult time when Brandon stepped away for a short while, we always envisioned him returning to Deciem and carrying on the magic," she said. "Sadly this was not possible."

Truaxe died in 2019 at the age of 40.

Meanwhile, despite New York-based Estee Lauder buying the Canadian company, Kilner said Deciem will remain "firmly rooted" in Canada. 

"There will be no changes to our (headquarters) location, lab or production," she said. "The team structure at Deciem will not change."

  • With files from the Canadian Press