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Published May 1, 2018
Published May 1, 2018
Milani Cosmetics

Gryphon Investors, a San Francisco-based middle-market private equity firm, makes their first investment in the beauty sector, acquiring a majority stake in family-owned masstige Milani Cosmetics.

WHO: Los Angeles-based Milani Cosmetics is a leading “masstige” beauty company that encompasses two distinct brands, Milani and Jordana. The company began in 1986 with the creation of Jordana Cosmetics and later grew significantly with the purchase and relaunch of the Milani brand in 2001. The company’s face, lip, and eye products are available in 75 countries and through key domestic retail partners including Walmart, Walgreens, Ulta, Target, and CVS.

Gryphon Investors is a San Francisco-based middle-market private equity firm that has an extensive track record of leading equity investments. Gryphon typically invests $50 million to $200 million per portfolio company. The firm closed its fourth private equity buyout fund, Gryphon IV, in November 2016 at $1.1 billion, and raised a $100 million captive mezzanine fund, Gryphon Mezzanine Partners, LP, in August 2017. The investment in Milani marks Gryphon’s first investment in the beauty and personal care space.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Gryphon Partners Dennis O’Brien said in a statement, “Gryphon has long been exploring the $45 billion beauty and personal care space and is excited to commit to the industry. Leveraging Michelle Taylor’s deep knowledge of the sector, we believe we have identified a strong growth platform in Milani, one which has a variety of proven and developing sales channels and the opportunity to reach a broad and growing consumer base that has discovered Milani’s quality and is actively seeking out the brand.”

“We are delighted to partner with the team at Gryphon to help realize our dream of developing Milani into a great global name, enjoyed by women everywhere,” said Ralph Bijou and Laurie Minc. “Gryphon’s long-standing track record building consumer product brands, experience with family-owned businesses, and their beauty and channel experts were all critical considerations for us. They share our enthusiasm for our company, and their resources will ensure our ability to continue to deliver a world-class brand to our consumers for generations to come.”

Gryphon Principal Matt Farron added, “Milani has a history of bringing to market innovative products that are responsive to customer needs and fast-moving consumer trends. As one of the few remaining large, scalable, independent mass beauty brands, the Company is well positioned to drive growth through product development and strong relationships with its retail and manufacturing partners.”

Michelle Taylor noted, “Milani is the ‘masstige’ brand of choice for consumers who seek out innovative, high quality makeup at affordable prices. That reputation has driven the Company’s rapid growth both internationally and domestically, where it was one of the fastest growing mass brands in the U.S. over the past year. Gryphon’s expertise and financial resources will be key as Milani looks to expand its market presence in an ever-changing and keenly competitive landscape.”


  • Gryphon Investors acquired a majority stake in Milani Cosmetics that encompasses two distinct brands, Milani and Jordana.
  • Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Current owners Ralph Bijou and Laurie Minc will hold significant minority stakes alongside Gryphon.
  • As part of the transaction, Michelle Taylor will become interim CEO. Ms. Taylor is a Gryphon Executive Advisor and an accomplished senior executive.
  • Ms. Taylor, along with Gryphon Partners Dennis O’Brien and Keith Stimson, and Gryphon Principal Matt Farron, will join the Board of Directors.
  • Ralph Bijou will continue with the Company as President of Jordana Cosmetics and Laurie Minc will continue with Milani as a Senior Advisor.
  • Both Ralph Bijou and Laurie Minc will be on the Board of Directors.
  • The transaction marks Gryphon’s first investment in the beauty sector.
  • Moelis & Company LLC was financial advisor to Milani, and Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton was legal advisor to the Company and its owners.
  • Financo acted as Gryphon’s financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis as the firm’s legal advisor.

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