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BeautyMatter: Q3 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:

The Hut Group stole the limelight in beauty M&A activity in the third quarter. With the goal of being the world’s leading online beauty and healthcare retailer, THG went on an acquisition spree fueled by an investment of £125MM from Old Mutual Global Investors that valued the business at £2.5B. The group snapped up subscription service Glossybox, RY (0ne of the largest online hair care and beauty stores in Australia), and leading luxury spa brand ESPA.

The turnout at the Beauty & Money Summit in New York last week was a clear indication that M&A beauty deals show no sign of slowing. Both beauty brands and the money showed up in full force, looking to make the perfect match. Competition between strategic investors and private-equity firms remains tough, and leading independent brands continue to raise their expectations on financial terms as the stable of acquisition targets of any scale shrinks. 


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.

Debenhams opened in 1778 when William Clark established a drapers store at 44 Wigmore Street in London’s West End selling expensive fabrics, bonnets, gloves, and parasols. Today Debenhams is a leading international, multichannel brand which trades out of over 240 stores across 27 countries. The retailer was acquired by Baroness Retail Ltd. in 2003 and returned to the London Stock Exchange in May 2006.

WHY: This investment gives Debenhams a disruptive proposition in the large but fragmented beauty services market via a tech-enabled premium service provider. It also creates a new distribution channel for the department store. Beauty services and treatments can now be booked at home, as well as in dedicated beauty bars in Debenhams stores. For blow LTD the partnership provides them a brick-and-mortar ramp-up.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Debenhams chief executive, Sergio Bucher, commented in the Express: “The step is a strategic move which ties into multiple facets of our Debenhams Redesigned strategy.  This will allow us to scale up our beauty services offer rapidly and bring brands closer to customers both in store and in their own homes. blow LTD’s exclusive presence in Debenhams stores will give customers even more reasons to visit us and the digital app booking service fits with our aim to offer customers a seamless mobile experience.”

“Through partnering with blow LTD Debenhams can adopt an entrepreneurial approach to a growing market, acquiring external expertise with flexibility and low overhead commitments,” Dharmash Mistry, chairman and co-founder of blow LTD, said. “Our partnership with Debenhams will turbo charge growth and awareness of blow LTD by accessing the vibrant and loyal customer base of a UK market leader. This move accelerates our ambition to bring expert beauty services to customers in key regional cities across the UK, either in their homes or in Debenhams stores. We are excited to join forces with Debenhams to reinvent the fragmented, multi-billion pound beauty services market.”


  • Debenhams makes £7.5M ($10M) investment in blow LTD.
  • Debenhams will hold a minority stake and join the board of blow LTD.
  • The first three blow LTD “beauty bars” offering blow dry, make up and nail services, will launch in Debenhams Oxford Street, Birmingham Bull Ring, and Manchester stores this autumn, with more locations to follow.
  • blow LTD has already experienced rapid growth, delivering over 150,000 beauty services, with over 300+ vetted professionals yielding a satisfaction score of more than 95%.
  • blow LTD secured a $4.5 million investment from Unilever Ventures in May.
  • Prior to the Debenhams investment, the total raised to date is $10.47 million from three investors.
  • Last year, June 2016, the company raised £1,345,530 from over 300 investors with a follow-on round in February 2017 through the UK-based equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs.
  • According to Startups UK, Seedrs shareholders have now been offered the opportunity to sell shares as part of a secondary share deal.This means that some early Seedrs investors will have the opportunity to sell their shares at up to three times their purchase share price.
  • Last November blow LTD acquired Return To Glory, another UK-based residential mobile beauty business.
  • Debenhams Redesigned strategy detailed its mission to “make shopping confidence boosting, sociable and fun” with plans for growth that include the intention to create a £1B business in beauty and beauty services.
  • The 164-store chain saw profits falling more than 6% when it reported its latest set of results this spring.


WHO: Carver Korea was founded in 1999 specializing in products for the professional salon channel. Today Carver is one of the leading companies at the forefront of “K-Beauty.” Its portfolio of beauty product brands includes its flagship skin care line A.H.C. (Aesthetic Hydration Cosmetics). Carver currently sells 1,000 different products in Korea, China, and the United States through multiple points of distribution: home shopping television networks, retail stores, duty-free shops, beauty salons, skin care clinics, and online.

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is an American multinational banking firm that engages in global investment banking, investment management, securities, and other financial services, primarily with institutional clients.

Bain Capital is a global alternative investment firm based in Boston, MA. It specializes in private equity, venture capital, and credit products. Bain Capital invests across a range of industry sectors and geographic regions.

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: The acquisition is said to strengthen the Anglo-Dutch consumer giant’s position in North Asia. Korean market beauty sales could reach as much as $13 billion in sales this year, according to the research company Mintel.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “It is an impressive business that is completely aligned to our personal care strategy,” Alan Jope, the president of Unilever’s personal care business, said of Carver to the New York Times. “AHC has been strongly gaining popularity thanks to its efficacious, innovative and premium products; and it therefore offers great opportunities for growth.”

“This has been a great opportunity for us to partner with a leading Korean company in an exciting segment of the cosmetics space and to help support its brand, operations, and growth around the world,” Ed Han, a managing director at Bain Capital, said in a statement.


  • Unilever has agreed to pay 2.27 billion euros ($2.71 billion) to buy Carver Korea.
  • Bain and Goldman Sachs jointly bought about 60% of Carver for roughly $500 million last year, that would have valued the company at $833 million.
  • Carver’s net profit nearly quadrupled last year to $117 million, from $32 million in 2015.
  • Unilever said that Carver’s 2016 sales were 321 million euros ($381 million) with core profit of 137 million euros.
  • Based on that figure, Unilever paid 16.6 times EBITDA, in line with home and personal care deals over the past decade.


WHO: Two years after co-founding Ipsy, Michelle Phan launched EM Cosmetics in the US with L’Oréal. The line, which gets its name from a Vietnamese term of endearment, launched with 250 products but got a cool reception and did not perform well. Outlets reported that the line was too expensive for Phan’s fan base.

Ipsy (Personalized Beauty Discovery, Inc.) was co-founded in 2011 by Marcelo Camberos, Jennifer Goldfarb, and Michelle Phan. Ipsy works with more than 8,000 creators and reaches more than 20 million individuals every month through its owned and operated channels.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “I’m excited to continue to develop EM Cosmetics for my community. Leading EM Cosmetics will allow me to realize my vision of building a global beauty brand with innovative R&D and increased vertical integration. It’s been fun and rewarding to help build Ipsy from the ground up, as we’ve seen creators fundamentally change the face of the beauty industry,” Phan said in a press release.


  • Michelle Phan’s company, Divinium Labs, will acquire EM Cosmetics from Ipsy.
  • The company declined to comment on the financial terms.
  • In 2013, Phan teamed up with L’Oréal to launch EM, a makeup line consisting of 200 products which was poorly received, with many critics perceiving it to be overpriced.
  • In 2015, Ipsy raised 100 million and Phan bought EM back from L’Oréal through Ipsy.
  • April 2017, EM was relaunched more than three years after its initial rollout with a more accessible approach.
  • Michelle Phan will leave Ipsy to focus on leading EM Cosmetics full time.


WHO: Cutitronics launched in 2014 as a spin-out company from the University of Strathclyde by Dr David Heath with its founding principle being to harness the power of engineering and technology to innovate skin care and beauty. The CutiTron technology is like a “Fitbit” for skin care. The menu of technology includes assessment of personal skin health, a unique method of automated skin stimulation to enhance topical product absorption, and precise personalized product dosage.

Croda International is an FTSE 100 specialist chemicals company with a Technology Investment Group (TIG) whose purpose is to drive the acquisition and licensing of innovative technologies. TIG is challenged with acquiring sustainable and disruptive technologies consistent with the company’s strategic objectives.

WHY: The unique patented process, which Croda recognized as truly innovative and disruptive technology for the personal care industry, led to their minority shareholding.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Wilma McDaniel, Cutitronics Commercial Director, who joined the team in 2015 bringing with her decades of experience at the corporate and brand level of global beauty, commented in the release: “It has been my pleasure to present white labelled access to our technology to some of the world’s most recognised beauty brands over recent months in Paris, London and New York. This partnership supports us to progress these plans enabling theses companies to provide their customers with a 21st century home skincare solution.”

Sandra Breene, President of Personal Care at Croda, said: “I am delighted to be personally involved in this partnership, which will not only allow us at Croda to be part of this intelligent application platform, but it will also enable us to utilise the very latest digital technology to gain greater insight of consumer behaviour.”


  • The value of the investment was not disclosed but said to be significant.
  • Cutitronics has been supported by the Scottish Enterprise High Growth Ventures team.
  • Croda’s president of Personal Care, Sandra Breene, will join the Cutitronics Board as a part-time non-executive officer.
  • Croda will also provide formulation expertise and advise on taking the technology to market.
  • The investment was advised by Glasgow law firm Harper Macleod.


WHO: Method was founded in 2000 by Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry. Mr. Ryan looked to turn its natural-cleaning brand into something of a social movement.

Ecover, founded in 1980 with manufacturing facilities in Belgium and France, acquired Method in 2012.

SC Johnson, known for brands such as Windex and Pledge, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for air care, home storage, shoe care, personal care, and pest control, as well as professional products.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “Method and Ecover have a strong tradition of innovation and delivering on consumers’ needs. They are a great complement to SC Johnson’s trusted lineup of iconic brands,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson, in the release.


  • SC Johnson is a private company and does not disclose details regarding financial or business transactions.
    The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals in the US, UK and Germany, and other customary closing conditions.
  • In 2012 Method was sold by its private-equity backers, San Francisco Equity Partners, to Ecover, a European-based rival, in a deal presented as creating the world’s largest green-cleaning company with sales of more than $200 million.


WHO: Lampe Berger was founded in 1898 by Maurice Berger, a pharmaceutical dispenser who invented a system of diffusion by catalysis in response to sepsis in hospitals, for which he filed a patent. This revolutionary technology purifies the air in enclosed rooms and was applied for private use, giving birth to the Lampe Berger company. For over a hundred years the company continues to develop and reinvent itself. Today the portfolio, alongside lamps, limited-edition products, and home fragrances, will soon include candles made with 100 percent vegetal wax.

Argos Soditic is a small-cap firm based in Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneva, Milan, and Paris.

WHY: The investment will help Lampe Berger’s development. Specifically, reinforcing the group’s research-and-development, expanding its range of products, creating design innovations, and reinforcing the company’s distribution channel.


  • Financial terms of the deal with Argos Soditic were not disclosed,
  • Private-equity group Argos Soditic will become the company’s majority shareholder.
  • Lampe Berger was in 2007 acquired by Banexi Ventures, formerly a subsidiary of BNP Paribas that was subsequently renamed Azulis Capital.
  • According to WWD, Lampe Berger generates annual sales of almost 50 million euros, of which 80 percent are made abroad—40 percent in Europe, 20 percent in North America, and 20 percent in Asia. Lampe Berger registered revenue growth of 33 percent over the past five years.
  • The brand has 7,000 distributors in 56 countries, 150 employees, and produces 800,000 lamps annually.


WHO: ESPA launched in 1993 and is a leader in the luxury spa sector. ESPA-trained beauty therapists performed over 5 million treatments globally. Their products and treatments are sold in over 700 spas in 50 countries including ESPA Life at The Corinthia London and top destinations of Ritz-Carlton, Peninsula, and One&Only. Their distribution also continues direct-to-consumer sales on the brand’s website along with several luxury retail outlets such as John Lewis, Liberty London, and Harvey Nichols. The brand develops and manufactures all their skin care products at its UK facility.

Built on a foundation of proprietary industry-leading technology, a world-class team, and a scientific approach to building global brands, The Hut Group was founded in 2004 by Matthew Moulding and John Gallemore and operates more than 140 web sites that sell health- and beauty-related products.

WHY: THG’s management is buying their way to becoming the world’s leading online beauty and healthcare retailer.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “We intend to invest substantially in the ESPA brand, especially in manufacturing capabilities, to develop the brand into a true global leader in its area,” chief executive Matthew Moulding told City A.M.

Susan Harmsworth, founder of ESPA, said in the same article, “I am delighted with this acquisition, which paves the way to an exciting next chapter in our journey. I am truly confident that The Hut Group has the passion and expertise to extend ESPA’s holistic philosophy which has been at the heart of our products, spas and treatments for twenty-five years. With spas in over 50 countries, this partnership enables us to reach even more customers all over the world.”


  • Hut Group purchased ESPA, from affiliates of KSL Capital Partners, LLC.
  • Terms of the deal were not disclosed but it is thought to be a £100MM-plus deal.
  • CMS, KPMG, and Deloitte advised the Hut Group on the ESPA deal.
  • Baylor Klein, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, and Deloitte advised KSL.


WHO: Exhale was founded in 2003 by Annbeth Eschbach with the goal of addressing mind and body through spa and fitness. Exhale has grown from one studio in New York City to 25 locations in the United States and the Caribbean, largely concentrated in urban locations, including inside upscale and luxury hotels.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation is headquartered in Chicago and is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 13 premier brands. As of June 30, 2017, the Company’s portfolio included 731 properties in 56 countries.

WHY: The acquisition of Exhale complements Hyatt’s strategy to invest in what CEO Mark Hoplamazian has called “adjacent spaces.” For Exhale, Hyatt provides the infrastructure and platform for global expansion.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “The big story is, going forward, what we can do to leverage this brand,” said Steve Haggerty, Hyatt’s global head of capital strategy, franchising, and select service, to Skift. “That will be in our hotels and in storefronts. It’s also further strengthening the value of our World of Hyatt [loyalty] proposition. It’s a business that, in our view, has done the most to and maybe the only one differentiating itself in the spa and fitness space along the dimensions of mindfulness,” he said. “It’s been a strategic decision for them to do so. As we sat back and thought of the durability of that, and how consistent it was in our efforts to serve our customer base this way, it was an easy answer to further the innovation already started by Annbeth [Eschbach, CEO and founder of Exhale] and her team.”

“When we founded Exhale in 2003, we were convinced that what people wanted from the spa and fitness industry didn’t exist. We set out to create and build a unique well-being experience that was a true departure from everything in the space,” Annbeth Eschbach told Well and Good. “With Hyatt’s support, the Exhale brand will be positioned for global expansion—in free-standing locations, existing locations, and Hyatt properties where the brand and offering fits. We couldn’t be more excited about the next path in the Exhale journey.”


  • Hyatt has purchased Exhale for an undisclosed amount.
  • Exhale will operate as a distinct stand-alone brand within Hyatt’s wellness category, with a shared dedication to mindfulness, innovation, and authenticity.
  • Exhale has around 1,000 employees.
  • The Exhale team will continue to lead and operate the business. Founder Annbeth Eschbach will remain as CEO and president of Exhale.


The Hut Group has secured a new round of funding from Old Mutual Global Investors that values the company at £2.5bn. In recent years THG has been on an ambitious acquisition spree, buying up consumer brands, online retailers, and technology providers.

WHO: Built on a foundation of proprietary industry-leading technology, a world-class team, and a scientific approach to building global brands, The Hut Group was founded in 2004 by Matthew Moulding and John Gallemore and operates more than 140 web sites that sell health- and beauty-related products.


  • Old Mutual Global Investors has made an investment of £125m in The Hut Group.
  • The new round of funding values the company at £2.5bn.
  • The deal will make The Hut Group one of the UK’s highest-valued private companies.
  • Existing shareholders in The Hut Group include Blackrock, the private-equity giant KKR, and Sofina, a Belgian investor. Sofina is also understood to be injecting fresh capital to maintain its stake in the latest funding round.
  • Sources said that The Hut Group was on track to record sales this year of up to £750m—a 50% increase on 2016’s figure.
  • The investment is understood to have been brokered by Zeus Capital, the investment bank.


WHO: RY, which stands for “Recreate Yourself,” was founded in 2005 by James Patten and Brad Carr. The retailer is one of the largest online hair care and beauty stores in the Australia, offering over 250 premium skin care, hair care, and cosmetics brands. The business also operates two brick-and-mortar salons, in Burleigh and Southport, Queensland.

Built on a foundation of proprietary industry-leading technology, a world-class team, and a scientific approach to building global brands, The Hut Group (THG) was founded in 2004 by Matthew Moulding and John Gallemore and operates more than 140 web sites that sell health- and beauty-related products.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Chief executive Matthew Moulding said in Prolific North: “We are delighted at the acquisition of, a leading player in the growing Australian haircare and beauty market and a business that complements our existing beauty websites such as look fantastic and Skincare store. At THG, we have a clear focus on health, beauty and technology and we are very proud that this most recent investment sees us become the number one online retailer for health and beauty in Australia.”

WHY: The Health & Beauty segment is a key priority for the group; the company says it expects to make “further significant investments in beauty” before the end of the year.


  • The Hut Group acquired RY for an undisclosed sum.
  • The business will join The Hut Group’s Health & Beauty portfolio, which also incorporates Lookfantastic,, Beauty Expert, Mankind, and HQhair.
  • The acquisition makes THG the number-one online retailer for health and beauty products in Australia.
  • THG already owns and operates, which was acquired in May 2016.
  • THG also ships into Australia from its other websites including Lookfantastic, My Protein, Grow Gorgeous, and Mio Skincare.


WHO: Freeman is based in Los Angeles and has been a leader in the beauty category for over 40 years. They have a proven track record of innovation across its portfolio of brands, which includes Feeling Beautiful, Beauty Infusions facial masks, Psssst! dry shampoo, c.Booth bath and body care products, and Bare Foot foot treatments. Freeman’s brands are distributed in the food, drug, mass, specialty beauty retail channels, and e-commerce channels.

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: Dana Schmaltz, Founding Partner of Yellow Wood Partners, said in a release, “Freeman is a beauty industry pioneer that has created strong differentiated brand identity throughout its history. The company’s brands are recognized as leaders in the mass facial mask and dry shampoo categories and enjoy broad distribution in mass and specialty oriented beauty and personal care channels. Yellow Wood’s focus is to partner with great brands with strong consumer loyalty where we can help accelerate growth and assist with cost efficiencies. We have great confidence in the future potential of Freeman’s brands and look forward to working with Jon Achenbaum and his team to fully expand into new and existing channels.”

Jon Achenbaum, CEO of Freeman, said, “We believe there is a substantial opportunity to grow distribution with all of our customers, and especially to expand outside of the US and Canada into international markets including South America and Europe. The team at Yellow Wood fully understands our brands and customers, and together with their functional-area operating experience can help expand our products to new and existing categories and identify consumers around the world who will enjoy our products.”


  • Yellow Wood Partners has purchased Freeman Beauty from private-equity firm Champlain Capital for an undisclosed amount.
  • Yellow Wood is investing in Freeman in partnership with CEO Jon Achenbaum and the company’s senior management team.
  • According to WWD, industry sources indicated the business is growing at about 25 percent annually.
  • In July, Yellow Wood Partners completed the $1.425 billion sale of PDC Brands, after quadrupling the company’s revenue and growing EBITDA by over five times.


WHO: The name Tonymoly means “putting style into packaging.” The Korean business was launched in 2006 with the support of Tae Sung Industry and is now considered one of the leaders in the K-beauty phenomenon.

Founded in 1957, Tai Guk is Korea’s largest maker of external preparations; their 300 products include ointments, creams, and gels, drugs, quasi-drugs, and health food.

WHY: Tonymoly acquired Tai Guk to enter the dermocosmetic business by producing functional cosmetics, combining its manufacturing technology with Tae Guk’s medicinal capabilities to supply its products to pharmacies through Tae Guk.


  • Tonymoly acquires a 47.6% stake of Tai Guk Pharma for $12.4 million, making it the company’s largest shareholder.
  • According to Korea Biomedical Review, current management will remain in place.


WHO: Berlin-based Glossybox was founded in 2011, growing into Europe’s number-one subscription beauty box. Developing a strong brand, Glossybox has created a platform connecting beauty enthusiasts, brands, and influencers. Today, Glossybox is the market leader in Europe and has subscribers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, the US, and Canada, and has relationships with over 500 international beauty brands.

Built on a foundation of proprietary industry-leading technology, a world-class team, and a scientific approach to building global brands, The Hut Group was founded in 2004 by Matthew Moulding and John Gallemore and operates more than 140 web sites that sell health- and beauty-related products.

WHY: THG plans to invest in talent and leverage Glossybox’s Berlin office, evolving it into a tech hub for the Group.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Matthew Moulding, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Hut Group, said in a release: “This is another significant investment for The Hut Group. In Glossybox, we have acquired a great brand, with a solid and engaged customer base that, once powered through our platform and marketing infrastructure, should be capable of further significant growth.”

Caren Genthner-Kappesz, CEO of Glossybox, said: “I am very excited about this acquisition. It was extremely important to us to find the right buyer for our brand; one that complements us and can use its retail know-how and technological capabilities to accelerate and strengthen Glossybox further in its journey of being a global industry-leading brand and a well-trusted beauty advisor for our engaged subscribers.


  • The Hut Group acquired Glossybox from majority shareholders Rocket Internet and Kinnevik Online.
  • According to WWD, Glossybox is said to have about 50 million pounds in revenue and is growing at more than 30% annually.
  • Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • The Hut Group posted 501 million pounds in sales for 2016.


WHO: Winky Lux  launched in October of 2015 as a fast-to-market cosmetics brand. All of the products are paraben-free, cruelty-free, nontoxic, and heavily pigmented. The brand is sold in more than 1,000 global retail locations including top retailers like Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and Mecca Maxima. This fall the brand will launch as an anchor in the hotly anticipated “Riley Rose” beauty concept store created by Forever 21.

WHY: The funds are planned for expanded digital campaigns, new product development, and the opening of the first Winky Lux pop-up shop in lower Manhattan.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “We’re thrilled to partner with like-minded investors who have track records of backing great innovation. Our goal is to provide a beautiful luxury experience to our customers through data driven personalization, indulgent packaging and extraordinary experiences both online and offline. Our customer’s happiness is paramount and our new partnerships will increase our ability to captivate and delight her,” says co-founder Natalie Mackey in a release.


  • $2 million in seed funding was led by Female Founders Fund (“F3”).
  • Other notable investors include venture capital firms BBG Ventures, GGV, SoGal Ventures, and TGZ Capital, a new fund whose managers include celebrity YouTuber Cameron Dallas.


WHO: Perfumerias If has a portfolio of 283 stores in Spain and 4 in Andorra, and the e-commerce platform. With a strong footprint in the northern part of the country, it is one of the leading perfumery and cosmetics chains in the country. Perfumerias If has a portfolio of 283 stores in Spain and 4 in Andorra, and the e-commerce platform. With a strong footprint in the northern part of the country, it is one of the leading perfumery and cosmetics chains in the country.

Bodybell, founded in the 1970s, is a leading specialist distributor of perfumery and household products in Spain. Bodybell has more than 200 stores, two online stores, and a strong logistics platform.

Douglas is a leading beauty retailer in Europe, with approximately 1,900 stores in 19 European countries and about 20,000 employees. It has a multichannel offering that is fully integrated across stores, online, and mobile, as well as its continually updated selection of more than 35,000 products. In the financial year 2015/16, Douglas generated annual sales of approx. €2.7 billion.

WHY: This transaction represents Douglas’ effort to strengthen its international business to become No. 1 or a strong No. 2 in every market it serves. A leading retailer in the European beauty sector, Douglas has become a leading player in Spain through the Grupo Bodybell and Perfumerias If acquisitions.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “This acquisition means yet another boost for our market position in this highly attractive region. By integrating the Perfumerias If stores, Douglas will clearly become the new No. 1 for beauty and cosmetics in Spain,” said Isabelle Parize, CEO of Douglas, in a release. “The store network of Perfumerias If in the economically strong Basque region is an ideal addition to our combined Douglas and Bodybell businesses with virtually no overlap to our existing portfolio. We are all looking forward to welcoming our new colleagues to Douglas.”


  • Douglas will acquire 103 stores and the e-commerce platform of Perfumerias If from Spanish retail group Eroski.
  • The Perfumeria If transaction is being financed via the additional €300 million term loan extension secured in June and the existing liquid funds. Beyond this, financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed.
  • Douglas acquired the entire Bodybell business, comprised of 223 perfumeries, two online shops, Bodybell’s logistics platform, its wholesale business, and a cash-and-carry unit.
  • Douglas reached an agreement with H.I.G. Bayside Capital, the credit affiliate of H.I.G. Capital, to acquire portfolio company Grupo Bodybell.
  • Douglas opened its first perfumery in Spain in November 1995.


WHO: Natural-focused personal care company BLAMtastic has developed the only line of all-natural, non-aerosol preventive and healing diaper rash sprays for both babies and adults. Based in Atlanta and founded in 2007, the Company’s “no touch,” non-aerosol, continuous sprays enable the treatment of hard-to-reach areas without the mess. Positioned in the mass channel, BLAMtastic  is distributed through the top national food, drug, and mass retailers, including Walmart, Safeway, Albertsons, and HEB.

LB Equity is a New York–based private-equity fund that provides growth capital to innovative, fast-growing companies in the mass and prestige beauty and personal care space. Portfolio investments include: MD Complete, Marula Pure Beauty Oil, Immunicologie, and Tara Smith, among others.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS:  “We are very excited to work with LB Equity towards the expansion of the distribution of the baby diaper rash spray and to launch a new product for the adult market this fall,” CEO Renee Sandler said in a release. “With the funds provided by LB Equity in the new organization, we will grow the management team and expand the product development work.”

“The quality of the products and management team was what first attracted us to BLAMtastic,” said Jay Lucas, head of LB Equity. “The size and growth characteristics of the baby diaper rash category and the adult incontinence market are extremely attractive and BLAMtastic is poised to be a leader in both segments.”


  • LB Equity acquired the assets of BLAMtastic, making a significant capital investment to fund marketing, working capital, and product development.
  • Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
  • Founder Renee Sandler and the rest of the BLAMtastic management team will remain in place to lead the growth of the brand.
  • Ohana & Co. served as exclusive financial advisor to BLAMtastic on the transaction.


WHO: Obagi Medical Products is a global specialty pharmaceutical company founded by leading skin care experts in 1988. Obagi products are designed to help minimize the appearance of premature skin aging, skin damage, hyperpigmentation, acne, and sun damage and are primarily available through dermatologists, plastic surgeons, medical spas, and other skin care professionals.

Valeant bought Obagi for about $344 million in 2013, during its acquisitive phase, as a means to build its dermatology business. In March, it closed the sale of CeraVe, AcneFree, and Ambi Skin Care, which had about $200 million in revenue, to L’Oréal for $1.3 billion.

Haitong International Zhonghua Finance Acquisition Fund I, LP, has ties to industry veterans in China. Among its investors is LP Regenerative Medicine International Ltd., which specializes in bringing biomedical and health care products to China.

WHY: Valeant is working to streamline operations and will use proceeds from the sale to permanently repay term-loan debt under its senior secured credit facility.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “The sale of Obagi marks additional progress in our efforts to streamline our operations and reduce debt,” Joseph C. Papa, chairman and chief executive officer of Valeant, said in a press release. “As we continue to transform Valeant, we will remain focused on the core businesses that will drive high value for our shareholders.”


  • Valeant Pharmaceuticals has entered into an agreement to sell the Obagi Medical Products business for $190 million in cash to Haitong International Zhonghua Finance Acquisition Fund I, LP.
  • Obagi Medical Products is expected to have about $85 million in revenue and $30 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization for 2017.
  • Valeant bought the skin care company for $344 million in 2013.
  • Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC served as financial advisor to Valeant.
  • Norton Rose Fulbright acted as legal advisor to Valeant.
  • Valeant will use proceeds from the sale to permanently repay term-loan debt under its senior secured credit facility.


WHO: Universal Beauty was founded by Jean-Marc Delayer and Vincent Faraco in 2008 to produce and distribute hair care products for other beauty companies, before producing their own line. They then launched their own natural hair care products under the Végétalement Provence label in 2013. Today, products from Végétalement Provence, based in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, are carried in approximately 800 points of sale, including more than 350 high-end salons, mostly in France.

Audacia Capital has invested more than 720 million euros in 320 companies from various sectors. It has in the past taken stakes in other premium consumer goods groups, including Cire Trudon, Olympia Le-Tan, APC, Fermob, and Kusmi Tea.

WHY: The new funds will help back production and marketing, and expand operations of Végétalement Provence in France as well as abroad in order to expand.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “The arrival of Audacia marks a turning point for Végétalement Provence, and will enable us to provide a wider and stronger offer to our clients, reaching out to both beauty professionals and the general public,” Jean-Marc Delabre, a cofounder of Universal Beauty Group, told WWD.


  • The brand is expected to generate sales of 5 million euros this year.
  • Looking ahead, it plans to broaden the skin care and makeup categories.
  • Végétalement Provence is slated to open a concept store in Paris next year.
  • Richard Morgan Advisory and the Alcya Conseil law firm advised Universal Beauty Group.
  • CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre was Audacia’s legal adviser, and KPMG handled the private-equity firm’s due diligence.


WHO: Ogee was founded in 2014 by Mark Rice, Abbott Stark, and Alex Stark. The company’s founders spent years in the beauty and fashion industries, building some of the world’s leading brands and products, and decided to focus on developing products that represent their own values. Ogee is an NSF-certified organic skincare brand founded to connect the worlds of luxury and organic.

Founded in 2001, FreshTracks Capital is a Vermont-based investment fund that uses venture capital to create positive economic and community impacts. Across its four funds, which total more than $45 million, FreshTracks has invested in over 40 companies. FreshTracks hosts a number of events for entrepreneurs and investors, including Peak Pitch and Road Pitch.

WHY: Provide growth capital and help the company expand its business.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: FreshTracks Capital’s Managing Director, T.J. Whalen, said of the deal in a press release, “We’re thrilled to invest in Ogee’s growth. We’ve worked with the team informally for a couple of years, and we know they have what it takes to be successful in the $120 billion global skincare market. With the Ogee team’s proven track record and experience in skincare and fashion, they are well positioned to capitalize on industry trends towards well-differentiated, luxury organic skincare products.”

According to Ogee co-founder and CEO, Mark Rice, “The investment will allow the company to capitalize on its momentum in the rapidly growing organic skin care marketplace which is expected to grow to $5.5B by 2020.” Rice described the plans for the investment: “Since the launch of our products in late 2016, we have received a wonderful reception from customers, press and retailers. Consumers are responding to our organic formulations that don’t sacrifice efficacy. Our new financing partnership allows us to take the brand to the next level through building brand awareness, new product development, national distribution and expansion of our successful e-commerce model.”


  • FreshTracks led the $1 million round of growth capital for Ogee.
  • This is the fifth company investment from FreshTracks Capital’s newly launched investment fund, FreshTracks IV, which opened in December 2016.


WHO: HSN launched the idea of home shopping in 1977 when it began airing programming that showcased inventors, entrepreneurs, and designers plugging their wares. Begun in 1994, HSN was among the first e-commerce retailers. HSNi consists of HSN, a leading interactive multichannel retailer, and Cornerstone, which is comprised of leading home and apparel lifestyle brands including Ballard Designs, Frontgate, Garnet Hill, and Grandin Road and Improvements.

Liberty Interactive Corporation operates and owns interests in a broad range of digital commerce businesses and is controlled by billionaire media mogul John Malone. Those businesses are currently attributed to two tracking stock groups: the QVC Group and the Liberty Ventures Group. The businesses and assets are attributed to the QVC Group of Liberty Interactive Corporation’s subsidiaries, QVC, Inc. and Zulily, and its interest in HSNi. QVC was founded in 1986, and has focused on fashion and beauty.

WHY: The merger will provide benefits to all players, according to a press release, including scale, meaningful synergies through cost reduction and revenue growth opportunities, development of e-commerce, mobile, and OTT platforms, cross-marketing opportunities and financial optionality due to HSNi’s lower debt leverage.

“We are excited to announce the acquisition of HSNi. The addition of HSN will enhance QVC’s position as the leading global video eCommerce retailer. Every year they together produce over 55,000 hours of shoppable video content and have strong positions on multiple linear channels and OTT platforms,” said Greg Maffei, Liberty Interactive President and CEO.

Mike George, QVC President and CEO, said, “As the prominent global video commerce retailer and North America’s third largest mobile and eCommerce retailer, the combined company will be well-positioned to help shape the next generation of retailing.”

“Joining the QVC Group will give us instant access to global consumer markets, a leadership team with deep expertise and a global perspective, and the opportunity to further strengthen our content-based brand portfolios in a changing retail landscape,” Arthur C. Martinez, HSNi’s chairman, told WWD. “We have both been innovators in a growing and dynamic retail environment with a unique vision of what shopping should be, and as new technologies continue to change our everyday lives, together we can develop the next generation of shopping for the next generation of consumers.”


  • HSN, QVC, and Zulily will reach $14 billion in revenue.
  • $7.5 billion in online sales and $4.7 billion in mobile commerce revenue.
  • Will be no. 1 in global video commerce.
  • 2 billion visits to its various websites.
  • Will broadcast more than 145 hours of live content per day.
  • Every year combined they produce over 55,000 hours of shoppable video content.
  • A reach of over 360 million households.
  • 186MM customer contacts.
  • Global reach of 23 million viewers.
  • 22,000 brand portfolio.
  • 320 million packages shipped annually.
  • Will operate 17 cable channels around the world.
  • 27,000 team members in eight countries.
  • 8.3MM Facebook followers.
  • 240+ social media pages.
  • Creation of the largest television home shopping company in the world and the third-largest e-commerce site, trailing only behind Amazon and Walmart.


  • Liberty Interactive currently owns 38.2% of HSNi and, under the definitive agreement, will acquire the remaining 61.8% stake, making it a wholly owned subsidiary, attributed to the QVC Group tracking stock.
  • The all-stock deal is valued at $2.1 billion.
  • HSNi shareholders will receive fixed consideration of 1.65 shares of Series A QVC Group common stock for every share of HSNi common stock.
  • According to CNN Money QVC did $8.7 billion in sales last year, while HSN had revenue of $3.5 billion in 2016.
  • In 2016, QVC and its global networks raked in $8.6 billion worth of sales.
  • HSN’s financial performance has suffered in recent years, and its market value has tumbled to half its peak price. Stock in HSN jumped nearly 35% on the news, reaching $42 a share, or up $10.70 apiece, and closed at $39.70, up about 27 percent. QVC’s stock slipped 1.2 percent to $24.16.
  • QVC and HSN will operate as separate brands.
  • HSNi headquarters will remain in St. Petersburg, FL.
  • QVC’s George will oversee HSN operations but it’s likely HSN will still have its own management team.
  • According to WSJ, QVC expects to get cost savings of $75 million to $110 million annually from the deal in three to five years.
  • HSNi’s board of directors will be dissolved with one of their directors being appointed to the Liberty Interactive board at closing.
  • According to the Tampa Bay Times, there was the hint of a possible sale in the near future of HSNi’s Cornerstone Brands, a portfolio of e-commerce and catalog businesses like Ballard Designs and Garnet Hill.
  • Allen & Company is serving as financial advisor and Baker Botts LLP is serving as legal advisor to Liberty Interactive.
  • Centerview Partners and Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. are serving as financial advisors and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is serving as legal advisor to the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of HSNi.


WHO: Mineral Fusion is a leading natural beauty brand with an assortment across color cosmetics, hair care, body care, skin care, and nail care. The brand is in approximately 3,000 points of distribution, including Whole Foods, natural/specialty retail, select grocery/drug accounts, third-party digital retailers, and internationally, via distributors.

North Castle Partners is a leading private-equity firm focused on investments in consumer-driven product and service businesses that promote Healthy, Active, and Sustainable Living. North Castle is a hands-on, value-added investor in high-growth, middle-market companies.

ASX listed, BWX Limited is a vertically integrated developer, manufacturer, distributor, and marketer of branded personal care products with an emphasis on the natural market. The company owns, produces, and distributes under the Sukin, Mineral Fusion, DermaSukin, Uspa, Edward Beale, and Renew Skincare brands.

“Our partnership with Gil and the Mineral Fusion team is the most recent example of our vision of realizing the power of values-based partnerships and experienced operating resources to help entrepreneurs take their companies to the next stage of their development – what we call ‘Full Potential Partnerships.’ We continue to look for opportunities in the beauty and personal care sector and across the Healthy, Active and Sustainable Living markets to leverage our knowledge, network and experience in building market leaders like Mineral Fusion,” Chip Baird, CEO and Founder of North Castle Partners, commented in a press release.


  • No financial terms were disclosed.
  • The sale of Mineral Fusion marks the firm’s fourth realized investment in the personal care space.
    Houlihan Lokey was financial adviser to Mineral Fusion on the transaction.


WHO: Based in Agrate Brianza, Italy, about an hour outside Milan, Intercos was founded in 1972 and manufactures and supplies lipsticks, eye shadows, mascaras, foundations, powders, pencils, nail polishes, and skin-care products globally.

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

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 revenues 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.


Givaudan is acquiring the Nutrition Division of Centroflora Group as part of its 2020 strategy to strengthen its global offering of natural extracts and further develop its presence in Brazil.

Cosmetic packaging provider HCP acquired Rusi Cosmetics, a leading cosmetic packaging player in the European market.

German specialty chemicals manufacture CHT Group acquires ICM Silicones.

Global specialty chemical distributor Nagase acquires Fitz Chem.

Grand Fan Group, a Chinese and personal care distributor, acquires the Cicabel brand, a 130-year-old brand from French medical products manufacturer Santinov.

Sequoia India to acquire Faces Cosmetics Canada from Everstone Capital for an undisclosed amount. Launched in India in December 2009, the Faces brand was set up over 40 years ago with a presence across North America. It was acquired by Indivision India Partners in 2007.

Sahi Cosmetics, an indie beauty brand created to develop makeup for women of medium skin tones, has received a $100,000 investment from the Zell Lurie Founders Fund. In addition to the current investment, earlier this year Sahi Cosmetics took home $27,000 as the winner of the Michigan Business Challenge (the University of Michigan’s business plan competition) and $25,000 mentorship, legal, and HR services as part of the Winter 2017 cohort of the Desai Accelerator, which is a joint venture between the Sell Lurie Insititute and the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan.

Anthony Brands was acquired in an unpublicized transaction but announced in a LinkedIn post by Founder Anthony Sosnick.

WestRock acquires Hanapak. Both companies serve the cosmetics and personal care industries among others. This deal advances WestRock’s business in Australia, where Hanapak is well established in the consumer packaging market.

Intega Skin Sciences, the wholly owned subsidiary of Crescita Therapeutics, a commercial dermatology company with a portfolio of nonprescription skin care products and prescription drug products, has acquired Alyria skin care from Sanofi Consumer Health. The $1.7 million transaction consists of a combination of fixed cash installments, of which $0.8 million will be paid in 2017, as well as a royalty agreement based on a threshold of annual net sales of Alyria over a nine-year period starting in 2020.

Marico South Africa, a wholly owned subsidiary Marico South Africa, has acquired hair styling Isoplus. The acquisition will strengthen Marico’s portfolio to make it a complete ethnic hair care player in that country.

Lonza, the specialty and biotech ingredient company known in the cosmetics industry for preserva­tives, anti-aging actives and emulsifiers, has acquired  Micromacinazione, based in Monteggio, Switzerland. Micromacinazione specializes in the micronization of active ingredients for the pharmace­utical and fine chemical industries.

Croda announced a minority investment in tech company Cutitronics. The companies consider it an expertise exchange and an opportunity for Croda to be a major player in the big data for skin care market.

IMCD, ingredients distributor based in the Netherlands, has acquired Canadian distributor Lomas. This transaction will increase IMCD’s footprint in the North American market.

Bormioli Luigi has announced a preliminary agreement for the acquisition of the tableware unit of Bormioli Rocco SpA. Bormioli Luigi has a deal in partnership with the Swedish investment fund Triton, and will take possession at the end of the completion of sale, from the Pharma division of Bormioli Rocco SpA.

Croda acquires Enza Biotech, a Swedish renewable surfactants company. Croda believes Enza’s patented technology will enhance its natural and renewable portfolio.

Azelis, the specialty chemicals distributor, is set to acquire New Zealand and Australian rival Chemcolour.

Sebacia, a US dermatology company that uses gold and light laser systems to treat acne, has received $20m in series D financing. The round was led by current investors Versant Ventures, Domain Associates, Accuitive Medical Ventures, and Partners Healthcare Innovation Fund. However, 60% in the latest round of funding came from new investors, including investment bank Salem Partners and other undisclosed investors. The company intends to use the funding to complete a US clinical trial with expected results by mid-2018.

Novacap, a global player in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, acquires specialty chemicals company Chemoxy International Ltd.

VIG Partners, a South Korean private-equity fund, acquired 73% stake in facial sheet mask manufacturer Press & Converting (P&C).

QVS Global, a subsidiary of the Zwilling Beauty Group, acquires rights to Tweezerman in the UK and Ireland.

Eurazeo has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Spanish fragrances and flavor business Iberchem. It will pay around €270m for a 70% stake in the company in a deal that values the business at €405m. Eurazeo acquired its stake from Magnum Capital, who bought it in 2013 from previous owners Alianza Private Equity. The remaining shares in the business are held by its management.

Keystone Industries, the cosmetics division of Keystone Research & Pharmaceutical, has acquired private-label cosmetics manufacturer Make Up My Cosmetics (MUMC). The acquisitions will complement their nail coating divisions Polychromatic and Centre 7.

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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