The Charlotte Tilbury Beauty brand is one that has surfaced on the top of M&A target lists for some time. Last year, it was reported the brand was working with advisers from Goldman Sachs and Jefferies Financial Group Inc. on options after receiving a $1billion takeover approach from Estée Lauder. Ultimately the talks with Estée Lauder fell apart over the $1.4 billion the brand was demanding. According to The Telegraph, the brand posted a 44.5% rise in revenues to £145MM last year, while pre-tax losses narrowed from £3.3MM to £2.1MM.
Reports of a sale have heated up again with sources telling Bloomberg a deal could happen as early as May. Bidders in the running, although not confirmed, are Puig, Unilever, Shiseido, and L’Oréal, as well as several private equity players.
UK-based Charlotte Tilbury Beauty was launched in 2013 at Selfridges and has expanded globally through Sephora and department stores. According to WSJ, the company was founded with backing from angel investors and two English private investment firms: Venrex Investment Management, with Sequoia Capital acquiring a minority stake in the business in 2017.
A sale of the Charlotte Tilbury brand would be an interesting test of the M&A waters as we come out of the COVID-19 shutdown, which has ended a decades-long boom in deals. Based on reports that business is not profitable, color cosmetics as a category has been struggling and the brand is heavily reliant on retail distribution, but they have built a strong brand with an engaged consumer. A successful deal would show strategics still have an appetite to acquire independent brands despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Photo: via Charlotte Tilbury