Duke Street Sells Simple for £240 Million

Duke Street has sold Simple, a UK skincare brand, to Alberto Culver Co. for £240 million. Simple was formed in 2000 via a management buyout from Smith & Nephew, with ABN Amro Capital serving as sponsor. Duke Street bought the company four years later.


Private equity house Duke Street has sold Simple, the UK’s fastest growing skincare brand, to US based beauty business Alberto Culver Company in a deal worth £240m.

Under Duke Street’s ownership Simple Health & Beauty net sales have grown at 15 percent per year, to £61m in 2008. The Company has introduced a broad range of new products, which has helped to increase the number of consumers by 50% in 2 years, to 5.5m. Simple is now the number one female facial skincare brand in the UK¹.

CEO Geoff Percy and FD 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.

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.”

Geoff Percy, Simple’s CEO, 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 and CEO of Alberto Culver, said:

“We are extremely pleased that we will be acquiring this strong skin care 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.”