Aerin and Jane Lauder, the granddaughters of Estee Lauder, the late founder of the beauty products company that bears her name, have become billionaires amid a bull market for cosmetics companies.
The sisters, who are among the youngest female billionaires in the world, each control more than 17 million shares of Estee Lauder Cos. (EL:US), according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The stock, which they own directly and through family trusts, is valued at about $2.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The New York-based company’s shares have risen 23 percent this year. Jill Marvin, an Estee Lauder spokeswoman, declined to comment on their net worth. They have never appeared on an international wealth ranking.
“The company is continuing to take market share in the global beauty industry as investors flock to stocks which are best in their class,” David Wu, a luxury goods analyst at New York-based Telsey Advisory Group who covers Estee Lauder, said in a telephone interview. “They’re faring even better than their peers.”
Cosmetics stocks have surged in the past year. New York-based Revlon (REV:US) Inc. has risen more than 67 percent, while Paris-based L’Oreal SA and Hamburg, Germany-based Beiersdorf AG are each up about 19 percent.
Aerin, 43, has worked at Estee Lauder for more than two decades and is the company’s style and image director. She also runs a namesake fashion business. She’s married to Eric Zinterhofer, a co-founder of private equity firm Searchlight Capital Partners LLC and the former co-head of media and telecommunications investing at Apollo Global Management LLC (APO:US).
Jane joined the company in 1996. She was promoted to global president and general manager of Estee Lauder’s Origins, Darphin and Ojon brands last year, according to a press release. She’s married to Kevin Warsh, a former governor of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, and, at age 40, is the youngest female billionaire in the U.S. behind Lynsi Torres, the 31-year-old owner and president of the In-N-Out restaurant chain.
The pair also serve on the company’s board alongside their uncle, billionaire Leonard Lauder, and his son, William P. Lauder. The siblings’ father, Ronald Lauder, has a fortune worth at least $3.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg ranking. Leonard Lauder, 80, the company’s emeritus chairman and largest shareholder, has a net worth of $9.5 billion.
Richard Parsons, the former Time Warner Inc. chairman, serves as trustee for the siblings. He approved the transfer of 7.6 million shares on Wednesday to a trust for the benefit of Jane Lauder, according to regulatory filings.
Estee Lauder started the company in 1946 by making skin creams on her kitchen stove and selling them to beauty salons in New York. It became the largest closely held cosmetics company in the world before selling shares in a public offering in 1995. Lauder died in April 2004 at age 97.
Family members maintain more than 85 percent of its voting control. The company had $10.2 billion in revenue in the fiscal year ended June 30, selling products in more than 150 countries under brand names such as Aveda, Clinique and Bobbi Brown.
“There’s a lot of pride and devotion to the company from the sisters,” said Wu. “The fact that it remains largely family-run speaks to the dedication and passion that they have for the business.”
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