In Brands, Finance, Retail

Birchbox has sold majority ownership to Viking Global, one of its hedge fund investors, after sale talks with QVC fell through. Viking Global previously led Birchbox’s $60 million funding round in 2014. Birchbox had been for sale since at least last summer, entertaining discussions with Walmart and other retailers. Recently they engaged in talks with QVC that multiple sources told Recode would have essentially been a fire sale. 

WHO: Birchbox was founded in 2010 by Harvard Business alums Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp. The start-up was a pioneer in subscription commerce.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “As an independent company with renewed investment, we are in a position to actively pursue plans that help further our mission and fuel our ambitious goals in the U.S. and in our global markets,” Beauchamp said in a statement to Recode. “As part of that strategy, we are prioritizing product innovation, the evolution of our digital experience, and scaled partnership opportunities.”

DETAILS:

  • Viking Global has acquired a majority stake in the beauty start-up after agreeing to invest around $15 million of new cash into the business, but sources say Birchbox currently has tens of millions of dollars in debt.
  • The deal left Birchbox’s other investors expected to walk away with nothing.
  • Birchbox has 5 million active customers and partners with 800 brands.
  • Birchbox had raised nearly $90 million in financing from investors since its 2010 founding, and was once valued at nearly $500 million.
  • Beauchamp will remain CEO of the company and there won’t be job cuts associated with the takeover.

Photo: Birchbox via Instagram

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