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BeautyMatter: Q2 2017 – Beauty Deals

BeautyMatter was born from Founder Kelly Kovack’s desire to provide a fresh voice to a beauty industry hungry for more content from her perspective, and through her lens. BeautyMatter aim to fill the void, connect the dots, and provide an informed, analytical, and compelling point of view. Exploring limits and blurring boundaries, they offer highly curated news and original content by thought leaders and beauty insiders.

Kelly Kovack:

With the first half of 2017 behind us, we’re beginning to see a slight slowdown in the number and size of transactions, but it’s not for lack of desire to make a deal. There are a number or factors creating the current environment. The volume of transactions in the past few years have created a shortage of brands that have the scale to meet financial parameters for traditional investors. This has made competition tougher then ever between strategic investors and private equity firms because strategics have been willing to drive up multiples in their quest for innovation and technology. The competition has resulted in indie brands of scale raising their expectations on financial terms—they are in the driver’s seat.

The current environment has also seen new players emerge to capitalize on the health of the beauty sector. There are new private equity players that are dipping their toes into the beauty space, more incubators popping up, and new platforms like Glanasol who are taking a risk on the cultivation of smaller indie brands.


WHO: Founded in 1972 and based in Agrate Brianza, Italy, about an hour outside Milan, Intercos manufactures and supplies lipsticks, eye shadows, mascaras, foundations, powders, pencils, nail polishes, and skin-care products to almost 500 customers worldwide.

Founded 20 years ago, family-owned Cosmint is based in Olgiate Comasco, near Como, in Italy and manufactures skin-care, hair and body-care products.

WHY: The deal between Intercos and Cosmint will create one of the largest B2B beauty groups worldwide.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS:  “Intercos will now be able to satisfy customers’ needs in virtually all categories of the beauty industry,”  Intercos Group’s founder and president Dario Ferrari told WWD.


  • According to WWD, in 2016, Intercos reported revenue of 449 million euros, or $509.4 million at current exchange, and Cosmint had sales of 140 million euros, or $158.5 million.
  • Projected 2017 revenues for the two companies together hover around 700 million euros, or $792.7 million.
  • The purchase price was not disclosed.
  • The deal between Intercos and Cosmint will create one of the largest B2B beauty groups worldwide. It includes 15 factories and 11 research centers across Europe, Asia, and America, and employs around 5,000 people globally, 4,000 of which will be at Intercos.
  • The agreement states that the Masu family will maintain its current role at the helm of Cosmint Group. The family also has the opportunity to buy a minority stake in Intercos.
  • Following the completion of the deal, Cosmint’s president Decio Masu will join Intercos’ board of directors.


WHO: Founded by the late Dame Anita Roddick in 1976, The Body Shop was launched as a natural beauty brand with an ethical approach to cosmetics, ruling out animal testing, and campaigning on social and environmental issues. L’Oréal acquired The Body Shop in 2006 at the height of its success, significantly expanding the brand’s global footprint. Today the brand is active in more than 60 countries and available through more than 3,000 points of sale.

Natura Cosméticos is the leader in Brazil’s cosmetic, fragrance, and toiletry industry, with the corporate mandate to “improve the environment and society.” The company trades in seven Latin American countries and in France, generating annual sales of 7.9 billion reais (€2.2 billion, US$2.4 billion) last year.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: When Natura’s firm offer was submitted on June 9, L’Oréal’s Chairman and CEO Jean-Paul Agon said on the company blog: “Natura will support The Body Shop development in the long-term and enable The Body Shop to best serve its customers while respecting its strong commitments towards its employees, franchisees and stakeholders.” Meanwhile, Jeremy Schwartz, Chairman and CEO of The Body Shop, added: “The ethical values and expertise of Natura makes it the perfect new owner for The Body Shop to accelerate the rejuvenation of the brand and its future expansion.”


  • In 2016, The Body Shop generated retail sales of approximately €1.5 billion and net sales of €921 million.
  • L’Oréal acquired the brand for around €940 million in 2006 at the height of its success.
  • Last year, the brand’s sales fell 4.8% and its profit margin dropped to 3.7%, far below the double-digit margins achieved by L’Oréal’s other brands.
  • Combined with The Body Shop, Natura would have annual sales of 11.5 billion reais (€3.1 billion), 3,200 retail outlets, and 17,000 employees, according to the Brazilian group.


WHO: Founders Mia Saini Duchnowski and Laura Lisowski Cox launched Oars + Alps in October 2016. The brand currently consists of three products: a deodorant, an eye cream, and facial soap.

WHY: Funds will be used to hire more staff, add new products, and produce inventory of its most in-demand product.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “We knew we needed additional capital in 2017 to grow our business and to keep up with the demand for our product,” Duchnowski, chief executive officer, told WWD. “It was important for us to find strategic investors whose interests were aligned with ours in terms of growth, scope, time, and level of involvement. We were pleasantly surprised to be oversubscribed in less than a month, and this allowed us to make sure we had the right investors who were passionate about both the space and the brand.”


  • Financing for the Chicago-based company came from Chicago investment firms Breakout Capital and the Levy family’s personal investment vehicle, both of which focus on e-commerce businesses.
  • According to WWD, in 2015 the founders founded the business using $50,000 of their personal savings along with money they got from winning the regional 2016 Harvard Business School New Venture Challenge.


WHO: Launched in June 2016, Phlur is an Austin, Texas-based vertically integrated online fragrance brand. The brand was founded by Eric Korman, a former president for Ralph Lauren digital and global e-commerce and RetailMeNot board member. Phlur was created with the intention of disrupting how consumers buy fragrance. Visual mood boards with corresponding music represent the inspiration and feeling of the brand’s six unisex scents; this guides the consumer selection process. The brand allows consumers to “audition” the scents on their skin for a $10 fee which is applied toward the cost of the full-size bottle of fragrance, which retails for $85.

IN THIER OWN WORDS: Korman told WWD, “We completed [more than] 25,000 orders and we are gaining momentum every week.” He said the latest investment round will be used to fund existing operations, fund customer growth, and extend its product offerings later this year.


  • Next Coast Ventures, an Austin-based venture capital firm, led the $1.45 million raise along with new investors to the business Farah, former co-chief executive officer of Tory Burch and former vice chairman, president, and chief operating officer of Ralph Lauren; Joey Levin, CEO of media firm IAC; and Cotter Cunningham, CEO of RetailMeNot.
  • August 2016, Phlur closed on a $1.8 million convertible debt raise, comprised of a continuation of commitments from existing investors who participated in its seed round.
  • June 2015 seed round of $2.7 million.
  • According to the brand, the web site conversion rate is up 40 percent since its June 20, 2016, launch date; web site traffic is up five times and nearly 20 percent of consumers who buy one full bottle also purchase a second bottle.
  • Patrick Yee, the CEO of Laird & Partners, and a former executive vice president of marketing and strategy at Refinery 29, and Jessica Hendricks Yee, the founder of The Brave Collection, a line of handmade jewelry, have joined Phlur as advisors.


WHO: Founded in 2004 with a launch in Barney’s, Hourglass Cosmetics was created by beauty industry veteran Carisa Janes. The makeup line is known for “its breakthrough formulations, technological innovations and unwavering commitment to reinvention,” which includes cosmetic formulas that rely heavily on active ingredients typically reserved for skin care.

Dutch conglomerate Unilever PLC was incorporated on June 21, 1894. The company’s segments include personal care, foods, home care, and refreshments. The company operates in more than 100 countries, selling its products in more than 190 countries. Unilever owns more than 400 brands including 11 “billion-dollar brands.”

WHY: Unilever is following through on its strategy to secure bolt-on acquisitions to help grow revenues following a failed takeover attempt by Kraft Heinz. Hourglass Cosmetics gets Unilever in the high-growth color cosmetics category, which presents a significant opportunity for the prestige beauty portfolio.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: According to the press release, Alan Jope, President Personal Care, Unilever, said, “We are delighted to be adding Hourglass to our portfolio of Prestige brands. The color cosmetics category has been showing high growth-rates, driven by social media content, channel diversity and democratization of professional makeup techniques, and it therefore presents a significant opportunity. Hourglass is already a successful brand in this space, offering fantastic make-up products that also deliver skin care benefits, and we look forward to continuing to grow this wonderful brand.”

Carisa Janes, CEO Hourglass, added, “As the first color brand in Unilever’s Prestige portfolio, we are excited about this partnership as Hourglass continues to challenge the status quo with high-performance luxury cosmetics. Unilever’s commitment to innovation and social responsibility is aspirational, and perfectly aligned with our vision for the future of Hourglass.”


  • Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • According to WWD, industry sources estimated the company sold for between $250 million and $300 million.
  • Industry sources indicated back in March that the brand hired Ohana to conduct a sale process.
  • Hourglass will join the prestige beauty portfolio, which also includes Murad, Ren, Dermalogica, Kate Somerville, and Living Proof.


WHO: Founded in 2013 in Toronto, Ontario, by Brandon Truaxe, DECIEM, aka “The Abnormal Beauty Company,” has created a portfolio of brands fueled by a vertically integrated structure consisting of its own laboratory, manufacturing, e-commerce sites, retail stores, and marketing infrastructure. This control enables the company to identify opportunities and rapidly bring concepts to market. To date the company has launched ten brands. The current portfolio consists of: The Ordinary, NIOD, Hylamide, The Chemistry Brand, Stemm, Fountain, HIF, White RX, and Ab Crew. Collectively the brands offer a broad range of products across price points with distribution in its own multi-brand stores, department stores, e-commerce, TV shopping networks, and select retailers primarily in the US, UK, and Canada.

WHY: The investment allows Estée Lauder Companies Inc. to tap into the minds of one of the most disruptive companies in beauty.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “In four short years, Brandon and Nicola [Nicola Kilner, Co-CEO] have established, in DECIEM, a powerful engine of innovation and growth,” said Fabrizio Freda, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. “Through its unique business model, DECIEM has produced some of the most creative independent brands on the market, capturing the passion and trust of devoted fans around the world—and they are just getting started. We look forward to engaging with the team and supporting their global growth aspirations.”

“It’s nearly unthinkable for a conglomerate to embrace a disruptive mindset like that of DECIEM—and yet we have felt like family from the very first day we met the loving team at The Estée Lauder Companies,” said Mr. Truaxe. “I am so truly honored, humbled, excited and emotional to have the support of such a remarkable partner on our path to driving innovation in beauty.”

“DECIEM is a new kind of beauty company that is well-positioned to create a new generation of successful beauty brands,” said William P. Lauder, Executive Chairman of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. “Brandon is the quintessential founder and entrepreneur who, as Estée Lauder exemplified, is willing to take risks, push the boundaries of beauty, and fearlessly pursue a bold vision. We are excited by DECIEM’s great potential and the opportunity to be part of its future.”


  • Terms of the investment were not disclosed but, according to WWD, Estée Lauder made a minority investment in DECIEM.
  • According to WWD the company has grown its direct-to-consumer business 1,250% in the last 12 months, with stores’ sales increasing 1,000% in the last six months, and the brand’s web site traffic grew by 2.2 million monthly organic visits in the last quarter.
  • The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. received financial advice from Perella Weinberg Partners LP and legal counsel from Lowenstein Sandler LLP.
  • DECIEM received financial advice from Baylor Klein and legal counsel from Gowling WLG LLP.


WHO: Indie Lee was founded with a single mission—to keep things simple and effective; to empower, engage and educate others, one ingredient at a time. The skincare and lifestyle brand consists of an eco-chic collection of clean beauty products that combine style and sustainability without sacrifice. Inspired and motivated by a life-threatening brain tumor believed to be environmentally derived, Indie has dedicated her life to educating others to the potentially harmful effects of toxins absorbed through the skin.

Ancora knows how to support leaders. Its principles, Lori Perella Krebs and Nicky Kinnaird, bring decades of developmental experience within the beauty industry. Financial partner, Winona Capital, is a seasoned private equity investor with a strong track record of building businesses through sound decision-making and operational excellence.

WHY: The Ancora investment is expected to give the brand the financial backing it needs in order to expand product-wise and geographically.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “We don’t see clean beauty as a long-term trend, we see it as a shift in the marketplace,” Krebs told WWD. “[It’s] evidenced by clean retailers, by existing retailers creating a space for this. [Indie] is that voice to champion the industry to the movement.”


  • Ancora acquired a majority stake in clean beauty brand Indie Lee.
  • Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
  • The brand has distribution in several hundred doors, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Anthropologie, Bluemercury, Credo, The Detox Market, Follain, and other retailers.
  • According to WWD, India Lee has doubled in size every year since it launched in 2008.


WHO: The Il Makiage brand was founded over 40 years ago in New York with a business model that involved retail stores and teaching academies. In 2013, Oran Holtzman acquired Il Makiage from a receiver for NIS 12 million. In 2015, the Israeli company acquired ownership of the international brand from the founders of the US chain. Today the company consists of an 800-sku product line, 41 stores in Israel, and five academies.

L Catterton, the world’s largest consumer-focused private equity firm, was formed in 2016 through the partnership of Catterton, LVMH, and Groupe Arnault. L Catterton has significant experience investing in the beauty space, including brands such as Bliss, Cover FX, Frederic Fekkai, StriVectin, CLIO Professional, Dr. Wu, Kopari, Ideal Image, and Intercos Group.

WHY: The capital infusion will fund US expansion of the brand.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Oran Holtzman told Globes, “Beyond the prodigious know-how and many connections that the fund brings with it to the table, the LVMH group – the world’s largest conglomerate of prestige brands, which owns Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Sephora, among others – is a substantial shareholder in the fund. We are proud that Il Makiage is becoming part of such a strong and influential group. Following the acquisition of ownership of the international Il Makiage brand, the current investment constitutes a major milestone in the brand’s global expansion plan. I have no doubt that the investment will enable us to realize our vision of positioning Il Makiage as a leading global professional cosmetics brand.”


  • L Catterton has invested $34 million in Israeli cosmetics brand Il Makiage for a 35.8% stake in the company.
  • The capital raised will fund penetration of the US by the brand.
  • Il Makiage CEO Oran Holtzman has retained control of the company.


WHO: Founded in 1981, PDC Brands has emerged as one of the world’s fastest-growing beauty and wellness companies in the world. PDC Brands’ portfolio of category-leading brands includes Cantu®, Dr Teal’s, Eylure, and Body Fantasies. PDC Brands’ portfolio of products can be found at major mass, chain drug, grocery, and specialty retailers throughout the US, UK, and in over 60 markets globally.

Founded in 1981, CVC Capital Partners is a leading private equity and investment advisory firm. Today, it has a network of 23 offices and approximately 400 employees throughout Europe, Asia, and the US. To date, CVC has secured commitments of over $107 billion from some of the world’s leading institutional investors across its private equity and credit strategies.

Yellow Wood Partners is a Boston-based private investment firm that invests exclusively in the consumer industry in the lower middle market. The firm seeks to acquire branded consumer products across a variety of channels including mass, drug, food, specialty, club, and e-commerce, and utilizes the firm’s functional operating resources to help maximize brand performance.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Cameron Breitner, Partner at CVC, said in a press release: “We are excited about this rare opportunity to acquire a rapidly growing, multinational consumer products platform with a strong portfolio of brands and a proven management team. We greatly look forward to working with James Stammer and his team as they extend their exceptional track record of acquiring and expanding consumer brands.” James Stammer, CEO of PDC Brands, said: “We are thrilled to enter into this new chapter with CVC Capital Partners. We have significantly grown and diversified our portfolio in recent years, and we know that CVC will be able to support our future growth ambitions in both the US and abroad by leveraging their deep sector experience and global resources.”


  • Terms of the transaction were not disclosed
  • WWD said CVC Capital Partners acquired PDC Brands for close to $1.5 billion, according to industry sources.
  • WWD reported that the business did about $430 million in sales for 2016—up more than 50 percent from 2015, according to industry sources, with $110 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.
  • EBITDA margins are around 30 percent.
  • Nomura and Perella Weinberg acted as financial advisors and White & Case acted as legal advisor to CVC.
  • William Blair and Jefferies served as financial advisors and Fried Frank served as legal counsel to PDC.


WHO: Feeligreen was founded in 2012 by Christophe Bianchi, who holds a PhD in electronics and develops innovative patented cosmetic and health care products and technologies. The business’ focus is to build bridges between technology silos such as microelectronics, chemistry, and nanotechnologies to radically improve protocols and treatments, from skincare to healthcare.

WHY: The funding will allow for increased business development in France and export markets.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “This new funding will accelerate our international expansion and allow us to double our revenue in the current fiscal year,” says Christophe Bianchi, president of Feeligreen. “With our business and distribution partners, we aim to commercialize our products in China by the end of the year and in the United States by 2018.”


  • Feeligreen raised €3. 5 million in series B funding.
  • Key markets are the United States and China.
  • Feeligreen’s Feeligold brand is distributed through specialized retailers and via a partnership with China-based Kontrue.
  • Innovacom and SEB Alliance participated in the first round of €1 million in financing.


WHO: Bulletin describes itself as the “WeWork for retail space.” The business finds premium retail locations and leases them to brands on a month-to-month basis. This model reduces the long-term leases and financial commitment associated with opening a brick-and-mortar store.

WHY: The investment is earmarked for the opening of five new stores in the next nine months—three in New York, followed by two in Los Angeles—as well as technology improvements.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: CEO Alana Branston told TechCrunch, “Bulletin represents a way for the retail industry to respond to the fact that ‘consumers have fundamentally changed the way that they’ve shopped.’”


  • Flybridge, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Afore Capital, Tim Draper, Kevin Hale, Y Combinator, and Liquid 2 Ventures participated in the $2.2 million seed round.


WHO: Limoni and La Gardenia merged in 2013 to form one of the leading beauty and perfumery retailers in Italy with approximately 500 stores across all regions.

The Douglas business was founded in 1821, when Scottish emigrant John Sharp Douglas founded Hamburg’s first perfumery and soap factory. These humble roots have transformed into a pure-play perfumery with a footprint of 2,000 perfumeries across Europe from Portugal to Latvia, in 19 European countries.

WHY: LLG runs the most extensive beauty and perfumery network in Italy, which perfectly complements Douglas’ existing 126 stores in the country.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: In a press release, Isabelle Parize, CEO of Douglas, said, “Following our recent acquisition of Bodybell in Spain, we are now strengthening our business in yet another core market in Europe. By integrating LLG into our pan-European store network, Douglas will now become a leading player in the Italian beauty sector. This transaction is a major step on our journey to becoming the No. 1 or strong No. 2 in every market we serve.”

Fabio Pampani, CEO of LLG, said, “With Douglas, we have found the ideal partner for LLG. Becoming part of this industry-leading player in Europe will provide us with the financial and operational resources needed to further develop our business and meet today’s customer needs.”


  • Douglas currently has 126 stores in Italy.
  • According to WWD, in 2014, Limoni and La Gardenia combined accounted for about 22 percent of cosmetics sales in Italy and a 50 percent share of the perfumery retail market.
  • After this acquisition, Douglas will operate more than 2,000 perfumeries across Europe from Portugal to Latvia, combined with a network of online shops, in 19 European countries.
  • E-commerce, still underdeveloped for beauty in southern Europe, will be a key pillar in the company’s expansion.
  • According to WWD, online accounted for 12 percent of Douglas’ business in its financial year ending Sept. 30, up from 10 percent a year earlier.
  • Douglas, owned by CVC Capital Partners, acquired Spanish retailer Bodybell earlier this year, adding 200 stores, two e-stores, and the logistics platform of the Spanish competitor.
  • Douglas is considering incremental term loan financing to fund a portion of the transaction.
  • The companies have agreed not to disclose financial details.


WHO: Valley was founded in 2006 by Nina Werman to deliver highly personalized nail-art services and impeccable nail care, with three NYC locations in Nolita, Chelsea, and the Upper East Side.

Founded in 2015, HBG currently operates a diverse portfolio of beauty brands across the hair, skin, and makeup categories, including DreamDry, co-founded by Rachel Zoe, Spruce & Bond, and Pucker.

WHY: The acquisition of Valley rounds out the portfolio with the nail category.


  • Financial details for the transaction were not disclosed.
  • HBG currently will operate 16 locations across four brands following the acquisition.
  • Expansion plans are under way for 3 additional locations, new services, and product lines.


WHO: Founded by Sarah Brown in 2007, Pai products are certified organic by the Soil Association. The company also has certified Vegan Society, Cruelty Free International, and London Living Wage accreditations. Pai began in Sarah’s converted garage in West London where she made all products by hand. In July 2017 Pai will open a new purpose-built manufacturing facility at its London HQ.

WHY: Funds have been earmarked for e-commerce expansion, the hire of an experienced CTO / Head of E-Commerce, and expansion of its global direct retail operation.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: According to Thomas Riccobono of Cap Invest, “Pai has a clear sense of direction, and successfully differentiates itself in the market. The honesty and integrity of the brand especially resonated with me. It extends beyond the beauty category, and operates in that wellness and healthy lifestyle space, which I found to be a refreshing approach.”


  • Pai Skincare closed a GBP 3.45MM (EUR 4MM / USD 4.5MM) Series A investment led by Luxembourg-based CAP Invest.
  • CAP Invest are adding to their already comprehensive portfolio of brands including Oh My Cream, Big Fernand, Gault & Millau, and StaffMatch.
  • The investment will help create new highly skilled NPD and manufacturing jobs in London.


WHO: Launched in 2015 by entrepreneur Divya Gugnani and former Victoria’s Secret model Lindsay Ellingson, Wander was created to streamline women’s beauty routines. The color brand focuses on a 17-sku lineup of globally inspired multitasking essentials.

WHY: To fund international expansion.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Desiree Gruber, cofounder of DGNL Ventures, told WWD, “When you invest in the company you have to love the founder and their ability to drive a brand. She [Gugnani] has an incredible history and track record of success. She has been inside QVC for years—she has the lay of the land, she has access and understanding and has seen other brands do it.”


  • Wander Beauty raises $4.5 million in a Series A, according to a Form D filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • DGNL Venture was the lead investor with Maven and Pritzker Group Venture Capital participating in the round.
  • According to WWD, retail sales are said to be on track to hit $15 million, more than twice the approximately $7 million in sales for 2016.
  • This year, about 30 percent of sales will come from each QVC,, and Sephora (350 doors in US and Canada), with the remaining 10 percent coming from Net-a-Porter, Anthropologie, and a few other outlets.
  • In 2015 prior to launch the brand raised less than $1 million in angel investments.


WHO: Founded in 2015 by the Alcone Company, LimeLight by Alcone offers all-natural skincare lines and personalized color makeup palettes, helping women everywhere look their best every day with its products. It utilizes a unique distribution network with beauty guides and an online presence in the USA.

L’Occitane International S.A. is the world’s leading natural ingredient-based cosmetics and well-being products company with origins and true stories from Provence and around the world. A global leader in the premium beauty market, L’Occitane produces and retails best-quality products, produced with cutting-edge technology under four brands, including L’Occitane en Provence, Melvita, Erborian, and L’Occitane au Brésil. Its products are rich in natural ingredients of traceable origins, while also respecting the environment.

WHY: The investment fits into the Group’s strategy to build a leading portfolio of cosmetics brands based on natural ingredients, while also speeding up its expansion into the color cosmetics sector. It will also add further value to its ongoing omnichannel expansion strategy through the incorporation of LimeLight’s unique distribution and online sales business model. LimeLight will also make use of the Group’s dynamic R&D capabilities and production facilities for its future products.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: In a press release Mr. Reinold Geiger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of L’Occitane, said, “As we expand into the colour cosmetics sector and explore the growth potential from new business ideas, we have been actively looking for quality brands that align with our corporate ethos of using the best natural ingredients and respecting the environment, while also offering a high potential return on investment. We have found the ideal partner with LimeLight, the company has great potential in the US and internationally and there is an excellent understanding and a true fit with the management.”

Mrs. Michele Gay, LimeLight’s co-founder and co-CEO, commented, “Our two companies share so many common visions and values. We applaud L’Occitane’s forward-thinking understanding that connecting with consumers in this new digital age is not just about programming another device application, but also building and training a sales force that can capture a vast social media following and then help that following discover personalized beauty solutions through out-of-store, one-on-one relationships.”


  • Under the terms of the investment, the Group will acquire a 40% stake in LimeLight’s business in the United States.
  • Together with Limelight USA, L’Occitane International S.A. will form a joint venture in which the company will hold a 60% controlling stake to develop the business model outside of the United States.
  • LimeLight’s existing management team to remain in place.


WHO: Founded in 1980, Quala now has a strong presence in ten countries in Latin America: Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Peru, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Its personal care and home care portfolio includes leading local brands Savital/Savilé (Haircare and Skin Cleansing), eGo (Male Haircare and Styling), Bio-Expert (Haircare), Fortident (Oral Care), and Aromatel (Fabric Conditioners).

Dutch conglomerate Unilever PLC incorporated on June 21, 1894. The company’s segments include personal care, foods, home care, and refreshments. The company operates in more than 100 countries, selling its products in more than 190 countries. Unilever owns more than 400 brands including 11 “billion-dollar brands.”

WHY: Quala fits into Unilever’s bolt-on acquisition strategy to deliver continued growth.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: In a press release, Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, said, “The acquisition of Quala’s personal care and homecare business reinforces Unilever’s commitment to our long-term model of compounding growth and sustainable value creation. The active management of the portfolio through bolt-on acquisitions such as this one, and the sustained investment in our existing brands, will help us deliver continued growth ahead of our markets.”

Michael De Rhodes, chairman, Quala, stated, “Following a strategic review, we have decided to focus our efforts and resources on accelerating growth on our core business. As a result of this transaction Quala intends to increase its investment in innovation, continue broadening our product and brand portfolio, and maintaining our leadership positions in the region.”


  • The combined turnover of the brands reached over $400 million in 2016 according to Unilever.
  • Savital/Savilé is the number-one brand in haircare by volume in Colombia.
  • eGo is the number-one male hair grooming brand in Colombia and Mexico with penetration across eight markets. 85% of the brand’s turnover comes from the styling category.
  • Bio-Expert is a haircare brand with a strong natural positioning.
  • Fortident is the number-two oral care brand in Colombia and Ecuador.
  • Aromatel holds the number-two position in fabric conditioners in Colombia and Ecuador.
  • The financial details of the acquisition have not been disclosed at this time.


WHO: Amyris, Inc. is an industrial bioscience company. Amyris applies its innovative bioscience solutions to convert plant sugars into hydrocarbon molecules and produce specialty ingredients and consumer products.

Koninklijke DSM N.V. is a global science-based company active in health, nutrition, and materials.

WHY: Short- to medium-term goals of the partnership are product development and production opportunities in vitamins and other nutritional ingredients.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: In a press release John Melo, Amyris President & CEO, said “We are very excited about DSM’s strategic focus in health and nutrition markets and its commitment to sustainable sourcing and production of better-performing products. The Amyris technology platform and potential synergy can lead to significant cost improvements for DSM while accelerating Amyris’s market access. We expect this will lead to incremental revenue in 2017, growing annually based on the number of products we develop in our partnership and our pace of delivery.”

Chris Goppelsroeder, President & CEO of DSM Nutritional Products, said “Amyris has a unique yeast-based strain engineering platform that is very complementary to DSM’s capabilities in this area and will create great synergy with DSM’s know-how in fermentation, downstream process development, and large-scale manufacturing. Working closely together with Amyris and leveraging DSM’s route-to-market, will accelerate our innovation towards cost-effective, fermentation-based processes for both existing and new products.”


  • An initial investment of $25 million USD will translate into a 12% stake in Amyris.
  • If Amyris can satisfy “certain conditions” there is the potential for another investment of $25 million USD.
  • The first tranche is expected to close on Thursday, 11 May 2017, with a second tranche, if approved by DSM’s Managing Board, expected to close within 90 days of the closing of the first tranche.
  • Royal DSM gains two seats on the board upon the closing of each tranche.
  • According to Green Chemicals Blog, Amyris said it is in the process of reducing its debt by around $75 million, and including the DSM announcement, it has several recent agreements that could rake in up to $95 million in equity financing.


WHO: Blow LTD. was co-founded by Fiona McIntosh (ex-Editor-in-Chief of Grazia and ELLE) and Dharmash Mistry in 2013. The business offers blowouts, makeup, and nails to the client’s door (home, office, hotel, or event) or in their flagship beauty bars. Their plans for expansion will secure their position as the clear UK market leader in on-demand beauty services.

Unilever Ventures is the venture capital and private-equity arm of consumer packaged goods conglomerate Unilever PLC. They invest in young, promising companies, accelerating growth by providing access to Unilever’s global ecosystem, assets, and expertise. Unilever Ventures has poured an estimated €450 million into some 40 start-ups since its establishment in 2002. It concentrates on digital and beauty companies in the US, Europe, and Asia with investments ranging from 5 percent to controlling shares.

WHY: The investment will be used for expansion of the business. Next month its on-demand services will include Manchester and Birmingham.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Stephen Willson, investment director at Unilever Ventures, revealed during the Seedrs funding round: “Blow LTD. is a leading player in Beauty Services on Demand in Europe, with a unique multi-channel model, comprehensive operational processes focused on quality of service delivery and innovative two-way marketplace technology. Dharmash and Fiona are reinventing the service experience and ultimately creating a new route for product distribution. We are excited to partner with them and provide access to Unilever’s assets, ecosystem and expertise.”


  • Unilever Ventures made a $4.5 million investment in the on-demand business.
  • Total raised to date is $10.47 million from three investors.
  • Last year the company raised £1,345,530 through the UK-based equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs.
  • Last November Blow Ltd. acquired Return To Glory, another UK-based residential mobile beauty business.
  • To date the business has delivered over 120,000 beauty services, with a satisfaction score of more than 95%.
  • Blow LTD. also announced the appointment of new CEO Brian Hicke.
  • Co-founder and current CEO Dharmash Mistry will become Chairman of Blow LTD. and continue to lead the board.
  • McIntosh remains co-founder and creative director.
  • Stephen Willson, investment director at Unilever Ventures, will join the board.


WHO: Katherine Cosmetics, a natural beauty products company that offers a series of high-performance, natural lifestyle makeup collections through multiple online, in-store, and social selling distribution channels.

Established in 1985, San Diego, California-based Oxford Investment Group is a private investment and corporate development group that acquires majority equity positions in underperforming or growth companies. They provide value-added strategic insight, leadership, and access to their global business network.

WHY: The brand announced aggressive plans to expand in the US and new international markets.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: In a press release Katherine “Annie” Finch, CEO and Founder of Katherine Cosmetics, said, “I am excited that due to recent equity investment in our company, we are planning to offer a broader array of our inspirational beauty brand product line which utilises only all-natural, never tested on animals, gluten and paraben free ingredients. In addition, we have aggressive plans to expand our online sales program as well as our presence in department, boutique and pop-up stores in the US and enter global markets through credible distributors.” In a separate press release, Oxford Investment Group’s Selwyn Isakow said, “We are impressed with Annie’s 30-year career accomplishments in the beauty industry, her vision, her competitiveness, her drive and entrepreneurial spirit.” He added: “We strongly identify with the Katherine Lifestyle make-up philosophy built on enabling all users to ‘feel confident… and pretty.’ We applaud the company’s ethos of regarding giving back to the community as the ultimate act of beauty.”


  • Details of the transaction were not available.
  • Oxford Investment Group’s Selwyn Isakow will join the board.


WHO: Sensorwake is a French start-up leading innovation in the consumer technology sector and also responsible for creating the world’s first olfactive alarm clock. Sensorwake was a Google Science Fair finalist in 2014, and they were awarded the CES Innovation Award in 2016 and 2017 in Las Vegas for outstanding product design and engineering in consumer technology products.

Sensorwake designs and markets internationally innovative products aimed at improving the well-being of consumers on a daily basis thanks to perfumes. Revealed by the Google International Innovation Competition and winner of the Google Growth Engine program, the French start-up also won the two innovation awards at CES in Las Vegas.

Givaudan is based in Vernier, Switzerland, and is the largest fragrance and flavors supplier in the world. Currently present in all major markets, Givaudan strives to deliver fragrances for personal, home, and laundry care, as well as prestige perfumes. Customers benefit from Givaudan’s expertise in three business areas: Fine Fragrances, Consumer Products, and Fragrance and Cosmetic Ingredients.

WHY: The investment follows a two-year partnership where Givaudan and Sensorwake collaborated to design a collection of scents for their first product, “Sensorwake,” a revolutionary alarm clock that wakes you up by diffusing scents. They also collaborated on their second product, Oria, which uses two Givaudan sleep patents developed by their Science & Technology Centre of Excellence in Ashford, UK. Oria is a smart, intuitive device that uses the power of scent to achieve a good night’s rest.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Gilles Andrier, Givaudan CEO, said in the press release, “We’re proud to invest in Sensorwake and further develop our existing partnership. It’s great to support young talent and partner with start-ups that share the same commitment and vision towards innovation in fragrances. We look forward to strengthening this collaboration and working together on new digital projects to enhance the daily lives of consumers across the world.”


  • Givaudan made a one-time investment into Sensorwake.
  • The financial terms of its investment were not disclosed.


WHO: Four Star Salon Services is a full-service wholesale distributor headquartered in Hauppauge, New York, which supplies roughly 3,500 salons in the Northeast.

SalonCentric is L’Oréal USA’s professional salon distribution business, headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida. Created in 2008, it operates 565 SalonCentric stores and 261 state-RDA stores, and employs 636 sales consultants. SalonCentric distributes L’Oréal professional brands including Matrix, Olaplex, Pureology, Redken 5th Avenue, and Moroccanoil, among others.

WHY: This acquisition provides SalonCentric expanded distribution within New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Bertrand Fontaine, President of SalonCentric, said: “This acquisition will enable us to further expand SalonCentric and the brands we carry into a key market. We will increase our footprint in the Northeast, while sharing the SalonCentric experience, including quality education, extensive in-salon support and an elevated customer experience in SalonCentric stores, with a new community of beauty professionals.”


  • The acquisition aims to align the two distribution businesses’ field sales and store networks.
  • Eleven stores and various field positions that service approximately 3,500 salons will be included in the transaction.


WHO: Founders Giorgos Tsetis, a fashion model and engineer, and Roland Peralta, a beauty and fashion executive, founded Nutrafol in 2015. Both men suffered from hair loss and wanted integrative and holistic solutions. Frustrated by poor results and undesirable side effects from a leading pharmaceutical drug, Nutrafol’s co-founders challenged the science behind conventional hair loss solutions. They teamed up with hair loss experts in the field of dermatology and integrative healthcare to develop a nutraceutical hair growth supplement composed of clinically tested ingredients for men and women.

Unilever Ventures is the venture capital and private equity arm of consumer packaged goods conglomerate Unilever PLC. They invest in young, promising companies, accelerating growth by providing access to Unilever’s global ecosystem, assets, and expertise. Unilever Ventures has poured an estimated €450 million into some 40 start-ups since its establishment in 2002. It concentrates on digital and beauty companies in the US, Europe, and Asia with investments ranging from 5 percent to controlling shares.

WHY: Hair supplements are part of the larger category of nutraceuticals which are projected for significant growth.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Nutrafol president Roland Peralta told Happi, “Up until now, physicians have had very few, if any, healthy options to offer patients concerned with poor hair health. Our researchers created an award-winning solution that fills the void by providing the medical community a healthy and effective option, without side effects, for their patients in the treatment of poor hair health.” In the same article Stephen Willson, Investment Director, Unilever Ventures said, “Hair loss is a global issue affecting millions of men and women every day. The founding team at Nutrafol, a nutraceutical supplement, has done a phenomenal job disrupting the status quo of the hair loss industry by shifting the paradigm in how western medicine talks about hair loss. Consumers are demanding natural solutions that work—the high trajectory growth of the brand is indicative that Nutrafol is on the frontier of that.”


  • The business closed its series A financing round with Unilever Ventures acting as lead investor after an initial funding from investment platform CircleUp.


WHO: Katherine Cosmetics, a natural beauty products company that offers a series of high-performance, natural lifestyle makeup collections through multiple online, in-store, and social selling distribution channels.

Established in 1985, San Diego, California-based Oxford Investment Group is a private investment and corporate development group that acquires majority equity positions in underperforming or growth companies. They provide value-added strategic insight, leadership, and access to their global business network.

WHY: The brand announced aggressive plans to expand in the US and new international markets.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: In a press release Katherine “Annie” Finch, CEO and Founder of Katherine Cosmetics, said, “I am excited that due to recent equity investment in our company, we are planning to offer a broader array of our inspirational beauty brand product line which utilises only all-natural, never tested on animals, gluten and paraben free ingredients. In addition, we have aggressive plans to expand our online sales program as well as our presence in department, boutique and pop-up stores in the US and enter global markets through credible distributors.” In a separate press release, Oxford Investment Group’s Selwyn Isakow said, “We are impressed with Annie’s 30-year career accomplishments in the beauty industry, her vision, her competitiveness, her drive and entrepreneurial spirit.” He added: “We strongly identify with the Katherine Lifestyle make-up philosophy built on enabling all users to ‘feel confident… and pretty.’ We applaud the company’s ethos of regarding giving back to the community as the ultimate act of beauty.”


  • Details of the transaction were not available.
  • Oxford Investment Group’s Selwyn Isakow will join the board.


WHO: I Love Cosmetics (ILC) has a range of brand portfolios that includes I Love…, New York Professional, The Good Stuf!, and Balmi. The product range covers bath and body, haircare, and lip care.

UK-based GRI Group Limited is a group of associated dynamic businesses engaged in the development, manufacture, and distribution of chemical intermediates for Personal Care, Household Care, Pharmaceutical, and Industrial applications.

WHY: The acquisitions complements the GRI portfolio.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: GRI chairman Graham Royle told Insider Media, “ILC will strategically complement our group of associate companies, which offer excellent synergies to each other. The [brand’s] business takes the group further downstream from its [ingredients’] and [products’] manufacturing facilities and offers many new market opportunities. ILC enjoys a valued position with both its incredible range of suppliers and customers and from day one we have already begun to implement a comprehensive strategy of growth, which will see significant product development and geographical market development.We are also targeting to acquire more brands to bring into the portfolio.”


  • ILC will become a subsidiary of GRI Brands Ltd. and will continue to operate with its existing team. Managing director James Brown will be supported strategically by Graham Royle, ILC’s new chairman and chief executive.
  • Nabarro (corporate law), headed by partner Ben Hendry, and BHP (corporate finance), headed by partner David Forrest, assisted GRI Group in the acquisition.


WHO: Tekin Acar founded the prominent cosmetics chain that bears his name in 1979 and has 80 stores across Turkey.

Founded in 1969, Sephora was acquired in 1997 by French multinational luxury goods conglomerate LVMH headquartered in Paris. Sephora is a leader in global prestige retail, innovation, and teaching and inspiring clients to play in a world of beauty. The retailer operates approximately 2,300 stores in 33 countries worldwide, with an expanding base of over 430 stores across the Americas.

WHY: The sale comes months after Tekin Acar told journalists that both the sector and his business were facing difficulties. Earlier this year import taxes on some cosmetics and restrictions on the products for which credit card payments can be taken in installments have had a negative impact on the retailer.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “Since many brands have closed up stores one by one, people don’t notice it,” said Acar told Reuters in January. “In my 46-year career, it’s the first time I’m having trouble paying my rent, utilities, and salaries. I’ve put all my income from other businesses into this, I’ve increased capital but it isn’t enough. I’m not George Soros, this is it for me. We have never faced such uncertain times. We don’t even know which new regulation will come out next. No investor will pour money into a country where anything can happen at any time. I am not just talking about the foreign exchange pressure or high rents.”


  • An application has been made to the Competition Board regarding Tekin Acar’s purchase by Sephora Cosmetics. Upon the approval of the board the sale will be completed.
  • Tekin Acar has nearly 80 stores throughout Turkey.


WHO: The company, launched in 2013 by British makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury, has created a hybrid beauty brand encompassing skincare, makeup, and fragrance. Available with six retail partners in 39 countries with plans to expand in the Middle East, the brand is growing fast. Cosmetics are carried in more then 70 doors globally and the fragrance has wider distribution being carried in about 100 global doors.

Menlo Park, CA-based Sequoia Capital Partners has previously backed Airbnb, Alibaba, Apple, Dropbox, Google, Instagram,, WhatsApp, and YouTube.

WHY: Sequoia Capital is the same firm that invested early in IT Cosmetics, which sold to L’Oréal last year. While there was no comment, the investment signals plans to fuel growth.


  • Sequoia Capital has taken a minority stake in Charlotte Tilbury
  • Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed.
  • According to WWD, the company said it had a “fantastic 2016, delivering strong triple-digit growth.”
  • According to WSJ, the company was founded with backing from angel investors and two English private investment firms: Venrex Investment Management, which focuses on start-ups; and Samos Investments, which funds many e-commerce and energy ventures.
  • Sir Michael Moritz KBE, chairman of Sequoia Capital, will be an addition to the company’s board.


WHO: Founded in 2013 by Yosef Martin, Miami-based Boxycharm is a monthly beauty box subscription service delivering full-sized beauty and cosmetics products from both well-known and up-and-coming brands for only $21 per month.

KarpReilly, LLC is a private investment firm, founded by Allan Karp and Chris Reilly, to partner with premier small to mid-size growth companies and help them achieve their long-term vision. KarpReilly currently manages funds and affiliates with capital commitments in excess of $500 million. Over the past 15 years, the principals of KarpReilly have invested in, sat on the boards of, and nurtured over 25 growth companies.

WHY: The capital will help grow the business, expand the management team, and fund innovative marketing initiatives.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “From our first conversation, KarpReilly understood the passion and vision for the future of the company and we knew that was the start of what will surely be a long and successful relationship,” Boxycharm Founder & CEO Joe Martin commented. “KarpReilly is excited to partner with Joe and the Boxycharm team. We are very impressed with what they have been able to accomplish by focusing on delivering a best-in-class experience to their subscribers and look forward to supporting them in their continued growth,” KarpReilly co-founder Allan Karp said.


  • KarpReilly, a Greenwich, Connecticut-based private equity firm, made an undisclosed investment.
  • Cassel Salpeter & Co. served as exclusive financial advisor to Boxycharm.
  • Berger Singerman LLP acted as legal counsel to Boxycharm.
  • Ropes & Gray LLP provided legal advice to KarpReilly.


Firmenich acquiring Agilex Fragrances. Upon closing, Agilex will operating as a stand-alone entity

Lumson Group boosts its strength in the prestige makeup sector with the aquistion of Leoplast.

Yes To announced a $56 million minority investment from Viking Global Investors LP. The board selected Viking to provide partial liquidity to existing shareholders.

PDC Brands acquired ME! Bath expanding its growing specialty bath portfolio. Current PDC Brands include Cantu, Dr Teal’s, Eylure, and Body Fantasies.

Croda initiated a major capital expansion at its Hull manufacturing site in Yorkshire, England. The £27 million investment project will nearly double existing capacity.

Tekni-Plex, Inc. acquired BrunaSeals a producer of induction seals and foam closure liners for beverage, cosmetics, pharma and household and industrial chemical products. BrunaSeals will become part of Tri-Seal, Tekni-Plex’s global closure liners business unit. BrunaSeals is now the fourth closure liner business Tekni-Plex has acquired in the past four years. The three previous acquisitions were Sancap, Alliance, Ohio; Ghiya Extrusions, Ahmedabad, India, and Tech-Seal, Triadelphia, WV.

WestRock Company acquired certain operations of U.S. Corrugated, a large independent manufacturer of corrugated products for packaging and displays. WestRock will acquire five corrugated converting facilities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana from U.S. Corrugated.

Ashland Global Holdings acquired privately owned Pharmachem Laboratories for $660 million in an all-cash transaction.  Pharmachem Laboratoires has annual revenues of approximately $300 million, 14 manufacturing facilities in the United States and Mexico, and develops, manufactures and supplies custom and branded nutritional and fragrance products.

Unilever created a joint venture with Europe & Asia Commercial Company (EAC) in Myanmar.The venture will see the joint entity – with annual sales in excess of €100m – manufacture, market and distribute home and personal care products in the region.

Pharmaceutical company Allergan acquired US company Zeltiq Aesthetics, the maker of the body contouring treatment CoolSculpting. The deal, worth approximately $2.4bn, is said to make body contouring Allergan’s ‘third pillar’, after facial aesthetics and plastic & regenerative medicine.

Specialty chemicals giants Clariant and Huntsman Corporation have merged to create a combined company with approximately $20bn enterprise value. The company will be named HuntsmanClariant. The deal will create annual cost synergies in excess of $400m, contributing to more than $3.5bn value creation.

e.l.f. Beauty invests in Social Standards US cosmetics company pushes ahead with digital investment as it establishes an exclusive beauty partnership with Silicon Valley entreprise. e.l.f. Beauty has invested in Social Standards, a Silicon Valley-based social analytics company.

Dabur India Ltd. an Indian consumer goods company, made two acquisitions, D and A Cosmetics Proprietary Ltd. and Atlanta Body & Health Products Proprietary Ltd., in South Africa. Approximately 30 percent of Dabur’s net sales coming from international markets. According to WWD, Dabur had net sales of rupee 77.70 billion, or $1.16 billion in the year ending March 31, 2017.  In 2016, Dabur bought the personal-care, hair-care and creams businesses of CTL Group.  In 2010, they acquired Hobi Kozmetik Group in Turkey for $69 million and U.S.-based Namaste Laboratories for $100 million.

Coloredge, the largest provider of visual marketing solutions for upscale brands and retailers acquired Color By Number, a New York-based supplier of package prototyping and design services.

Northwest Cosmetic Laboratories, a portfolio company of Clearview Capital, LLC, has completed the acquisition of Dream Team Beaute of Sun Valley, CA. NCL is a formulator and manufacturer of innovative skin care and color cosmetic products for prestige beauty brands. Dream Team is a cutting-edge color cosmetics innovation house since its launch in 2013.

Safic-Alcan Poland, distributor of specialty chemicals and subsidiary of the Safic-Alcan Group, has acquired Cosmetics Partner, a Poland-based distributor of natural ingredients, including actives, extracts, vegetable oils, butters, essential oils, scrubs and dyes.

The Red Tree is the UK’s leading international beauty brand consultancy and a powerhouse of ideas, insight and inspiration. For an informal discussion on how we might help you, please contact us.

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