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The Estee Lauder Companies, a manufacturer and marketer of skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products, has agreed to acquire the Ojon Corp., a privately held prestige hair care company based in Canada.

The closing of the acquisition is expected to occur in this month. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Ojon markets and sells products made with ingredients collected by the Tawira, an indigenous community living in the Central American rain forest. Ojon, incorporated in 2003, markets its naturally-derived shampoos, conditioners, styling products and treatments through QVC; specialty retailers, including Sephora, Ulta and Nordstrom; and approximately 300 high-end salons. CurlMart also retails the line. The Ojon products also are available in limited distribution overseas.

Ojon products are made with palm nut oil produced by the Tawira people and help improve hair's strength, moisture, shine and reduce breakage. In late 2006, Ojon also launched Rare Harvest Tawaka Collection, a three-product skin and hair care treatment line based on a wild-crafted blend of anti-oxidant rich cacao harvested in the Honduran rain forest.

To source its ingredients, Ojon has partnered with the Mosquitia Pawisa Agency for the Development of the Honduras Mosquitia (MOPAWI Organization), a local nonprofit group that works on behalf of indigenous communities in the region. Through its contract with the MOPAWI, Ojon purchases wild-crafted palm nut oil and other ingredients from thousands of Tawira producers. The ingredients, largely palm oil and cacao, are then sent to Originitalia, a plant in northern Italy, where they are purified and blended into Ojon products.

Ojon has earmarked a portion of profits from the sale of Ojon products to help the Tawira preserve its traditional lifestyle and protect and sustain the rain forest. It has established safety standards, scholarship funds and environmental protection measures.

Founder Denis Simioni will remain as president of Ojon, reporting to Philip Shearer. The Estee Lauder Cos. will appoint a general manager to the brand and plans to keep the company's existing management team and headquarters in Canada and continue to operate Ojon as a stand-alone business. Ojon is expected to maintain its relationship with its current manufacturer, Originitalia.

The Estee Lauder products are sold in more than 130 countries and territories under such brand names as Estee Lauder, Aramis, Clinique, Prescriptives, Lab Series, Origins, M.A.C, Bobbi Brown, Tommy Hilfiger, La Mer, Donna Karan, Aveda, Jo Malone, Bumble and bumble, Darphin, Michael Kors, American Beauty, Flirt!, Good Skin, Grassroots, Sean John, Missoni, Daisy Fuentes and Tom Ford Beauty.

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