New York-based Coty Inc. (NYSE: COTY) said it agreed to acquire London-based high-end hairstyling brand GHD (Good Hair Day) from private equity firm Lion Capital LLP, for ₤420 million ($510 million) in cash.
Lion Capital acquired GHD from Montagu Private Equity for £300 million in 2013.
GHD is an iconic brand with an extremely loyal following among stylists and consumers, including celebrities such as Victoria Beckham and singer Katy Perry.
GHD generated generated ₤178 million in revenues in fiscal year 2016. Lion Capital was said to be seeking a valuation of £400 million based on a 12x to 13x multiple of earnings, and appointed Rothschild to oversee the sale of the company, as reported by ExitHub in June.
GHD products are sold through a direct presence at hair salons in 14 countries across several markets in Europe, as well as Australia, South Africa and the U.S., in addition to its own website and via premium high street retailers.
GHD was founded in 2001, with a £15,000 investment from three entrepreneurs in Bradford, West Yorkshire, who bought the rights to a Korean-developed hair-straightening iron.
Coty plans to fund the acquisition with a combination of cash on hand and available debt facilities. The deal is expected to be immediately accretive to Coty’s earnings.
The addition of GHD’s hair straighteners, hairdryers, curlers and other hairstyling appliances is expected to further strengthen Coty’s worldwide leading position in the professional hair category.
GHD will become part of the Coty Professional Beauty division, where it will be managed as a standalone business led by its current CEO Anthony Davey and management team.
“We are pleased to bring ghd’s highly skilled management team and its employees into Coty as we continue to strengthen our core business through the addition of innovative market-leading brands and products,” said Coty CEO Camillo Pane.
Coty is one of the world’s largest beauty companies with approximately $9 billion in revenue. Coty is the global leader in fragrance, the number two in professional salon hair color & styling, and number three in color cosmetics. The company has 20,000 employees globally and its products are sold in over 130 countries. Coty was founded in Paris in 1904.
“Over the three years of our ownership, ghd grew worldwide sales by 30% through a strong pipeline of innovative new products, which deepened the brand’s leadership in its core markets and supported its successful entry into new hairstyling categories,” said Lyndon Lea, partner of Lion Capital.
Lion Capital is a consumer-focused investor headquartered in London, and employs 30 investment executives across its London and Los Angeles offices. The firm was founded in 2004 by Lyndon Lea, Robert Darwent and Neil Richardson, as a spinoff from Hicks Muse Tate & Furst Europe (1999-2004). The firm’s principals have invested approximately €6 billion in more than 30 businesses and more than 100 consumer brands, with a focus on Europe and North America.
Among the firm’s most notable investments are Apparel & Accessories brands Jimmy Choo, American Apparel, Buscemi, AllSaints, and John Varvatos; Food & Beverage brands Kettle Foods, Bumble Bee Foods, Orangina Scweppes and Weetabix; Personal Care brands GHD, Personna, and Perricone MD; and Retail brands Wagamama, Picard, Spence Diamonds and Pittarosso.
The deal is subject to regulatory clearances and other customary closing conditions, and is expected to close by the end of calendar year 2016.
Lion Capital and GHD were advised by Rothschild & Co. and Proskauer Rose LLP. Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP acted as legal counsel for Coty Inc.
WAVE OF BEAUTY AND PERSONAL CARE SECTOR EXITS
The move follows a recent global wave of deals and consolidation in the beauty and personal care market.
In September, Los Angeles-based beauty and consumer goods startup The Honest Company, co-founded by actress Jessica Alba and known for its eco-friendly products, was said to be seeking an exit, including a sale of the company.
In July, L’Oréal SA (EPA: OR), the world’s leading beauty and cosmetics company, controlled by the family of Liliane Bettencourt, the wealthiest person in France and the wealthiest woman in the world, agreed to acquire IT Cosmetics, a top-selling prestige makeup and skincare brand in the United States, for $1.2 billion in cash.
Likewise, consumer products giant Unilever (LSE: ULVR) agreed to acquire men’s personal grooming startup Dollar Shave Club (DSC), for $1 billion.
A few days earlier in the summer, GHD’s rival Tangle Teezer, a British manufacturer of detangling hairbrushes founded and owned by hair colorist Shaun Pulfrey, was said to have hired investment bank Robert W. Baird & Co. to shop the company for £200 million.
In June, billionaire Ronald Perelman‘s Revlon Inc. (NYSE: REV) agreed to acquire Elizabeth Arden Inc. (NASDAQ: RDEN), a legendary global prestige beauty products company with a portfolio of beauty brands sold in over 120 countries, in a deal valued at $870 million.
Two weeks earlier, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) agreed to acquire Vogue International LLC, a manufacturer and distributor of salon-heritage hair care and other personal care products, including OGX, FX, Proganix and Maui Moisture, from private equity firm Carlyle Group LP (NASDAQ: CG) and the company’s founder and CEO Todd Christopher, for $3.3 billion.
Also in early June, Japanese global cosmetics company Shiseido Co. Ltd. (TYO: 4911) agreed to acquire Gurwitch Products LLC, a Houston, Texas-based marketer of global prestige cosmetics and skincare brands including Laura Mercier and RéVive, from Alticor Inc., the owner of Amway.
In May, private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice agreed to acquire High Ridge Brands Co., which owns a portfolio of personal care brands, from private equity firm Brynwood Partners, for $415 million.
In April, Fosun International (HKSE: 0656), one of China’s largest investment firms chaired by billionaire Guo Guangchang, agreed to acquire Israeli cosmetics company Ahava Dead Sea Labs for $77 million.
In February, Canadian cosmetics and skincare company Groupe Marcelle acquired Montreal-based Lise Watier Cosmétiques, through an $18 million investment by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ),becoming the largest Canadian company in the beauty industry.