In 2013 Amorepacific was a brand to watch, with a Digital IQ higher than most any other K-beauty brand, and retail stores and brand expansion on the horizon. It successfully rode the K-beauty wave for close to six years, but challenges arose and soon a revolving door of management attempted to revive the brand back to its heyday. Yesterday, an unexpected move was announced that may give the Seoul-based company its groove back: it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Tata’s Natural Alchemy, better known as Tata Harper.

The company said it raised 168.1 billion won, or about $125 million U.S. dollars, through the issuance of new shares to finance the deal.

Amorepacific, which reported that second-quarter sales jumped 66 percent over last year, has been working to boost profitability and expand into new markets, especially North America. Last year, the company took a minority stake in CosRx with an agreement to codevelop products.

The buy of Tata Harper comes at a fortuitous time. The clean beauty indie brand not only accelerates Amorepacific’s penetration into global markets, but also makes it a contender in the expanding clean beauty space.

The eponymously named brand was cofounded by Tata and Henry Harper in 2010 on their farm in Vermont. Trailblazers in clean beauty, their vision was to be an end-to-end producer of “beauty without compromise.” The company uses 100 percent naturally derived ingredients without any genetically modified organisms (GMOs), toxins, fillers, artificial colors, fragrances, or synthetic chemicals.

Today, Tata Harper is sold at more than 800 retail stores, including Sephora and Neiman Marcus, as well as through 25 online sites such as its own, Net-A-Porter and Cult Beauty.

“Tata Harper is a clean beauty brand instilled with the core values of healthy beauty – values that society and consumers are looking for today. Fueled by Amorepacific’s top-notch R&D and P&L infrastructure, we expect Tata Harper will be able to significantly expand its footprint in the Western and Asian markets,” said Jinpyo Lee, Chief Strategy Officer at Amorepacific Group.

Added Tata, “I look forward to leveraging Amorepacific’s expertise to drive global growth and continue to serve our consumers, who rely on Tata Harper to deliver the most results from their skin care. Tata will continue to lead the brand.

According to the company, Amorepacific will continue to promote flagship product categories through intensive marketing activities, while simultaneously boosting product competitiveness through joint research and expanding new categories. By leveraging its scale and streamlining internal processes, Amorepacific hopes to boost the profitability of Tata Harper.

The closing of the acquisition is expected to occur in the early part of the fourth quarter.

Diversification is seen as a growth engine for Amorepacific, especially to break free from reliance on branded retail stores.  The company hit some headwinds over the past few years; its freestanding Innisfree stores were closed in North America; the Hera brand brick and mortar stores have closed in China. However, online has been a sales generator with Laneige, and Innisfree has been doing well on Amazon.

The recent strong fiscal performance, the company said, was driven by wider sales channels and e-commerce, as well as aggressive marketing of bestsellers for each respective brand. Amorepacific also boosted its use of local influencers.