Friday, September 3, 2004

Sassoon settles suit with P&G

Terms undisclosed, Procter keeps brand

By Cliff Peale
Enquirer staff writer

Three weeks after an angry Vidal Sassoon vowed he would take Procter & Gamble Co. to trial for "decimating" the hair-care brand that bears his name, the legendary hair stylist Thursday settled his federal lawsuit against P&G.

The deal short-circuits a trial that was to start in mid-October in Los Angeles. Neither side would reveal terms of the settlement, but it is believed to include a payment to Sassoon from P&G.

A federal judge in Los Angeles had upheld Sassoon's claims of breach of fiduciary duty and breach of covenant, while dismissing two fraud claims.

Procter emerges from the brouhaha with ownership of the brand.

The company said it will explore avenues including beauty salons to expand Vidal Sassoon sales.

"We are passionate about this brand, and we are going to grow it any way we can," a P&G spokeswoman said.

It was P&G's 2003 decision to pull Vidal Sassoon products off store shelves in North America and western Europe that prompted the lawsuit.

The brand remains in stores in Asia, with annual sales of about $200 million.

Including royalties of 1.5 percent of sales and an expired personal-services contract, P&G has paid Sassoon more than $86 million since it bought the brand in the mid-1980s.


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