L'Oreal to buy Chinese brand

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[Shanghai, China] L'Oreal is buying Yue-Sai, one of mainland China's largest makeup and skincare brands. The price has not been disclosed, but Procter & Gamble Co. is believed to have made a bid, too. Yue-Sai has been owned by Coty since 1996, but the company was founded in 1992 by Yue-Sai Kan, a Chinese woman who was educated in the West and has become a cult figure in her home country. The brand is sold in 800 department stores and sold close to $47 million in 2003. Last month, L'Oreal bought Mininurse, one of China's top three skin-care brands with a 5% market share and 2003 sales of about $50 million. Both deals are subject to approval by Chinese authorities. L'Oreal entered China in 1997 and had 2003 sales there of $198 million, up from $141 million in 2002, from brands such as L'Oreal Paris, Maybelline and Lancome.