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Helen of Troy Acquires Curlsmith in $150 Million Deal

April 26, 2022
April 26, 2022
Curlsmith

Helen of Troy snaps up indie haircare brand Curlsmith for $150 million. The deal will make Curlsmith the most profitable brand in its portfolio.

WHO: Curlsmith was founded in 2017 by Michal Berski, a L'Oréal and Unilever veteran, as an online community on YouTube and Instagram first, engaging the community with specialist content and providing a space for sharing tips, tricks, and tutorials for managing textured hair. In response to the unmet needs of its curly followers, Curlsmith launched its own product line, calling on its community to co-create the range. Today, the product line is sold in 44 countries, predominantly in specialty retailers such as Ulta Beauty, and DTC.

Helen of Troy Limited is a leading global consumer products company offering creative products and solutions for its customers through a diversified portfolio of well-recognized and widelytrusted brands, including OXO, Hydro Flask, Osprey, Vicks, Braun, Honeywell, PUR, Hot Tools, and Drybar. The company sometimes refers to these brands as its Leadership Brands.

WHY: The deal advances Helen of Troy's strategy to invest in businesses that can accelerate profitable growth in categories where they can add value and leverage their scalable operating platform. It aligns with a key Phase II M&A objective of tucking in early-stage, fast-growing, and disruptive innovators to complement the company’s portfolio of Leadership Brands.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Michal Berski, Curlsmith founder, CEO and majority shareholder, who has not yet revealed what he plans to do next, said: "In my experience, doing things the same as everyone else does not create real change. My goal was to build a brand that instilled true confidence in the global curl-community, and that is how Curlsmith was born 5 years ago. What some said was an impossible dream turned out to be the wildest, most intense, and most rewarding five years of my life. And I can't believe how far we've come so fast. Helen of Troy is a powerhouse partner with a talent for scouting truly unique brands and turbo launching them to the next level. I'm pumped to see what's next for Curlsmith."

Julien R. Mininberg, Chief Executive Officer of Helen of Troy, added, "We believe Curlsmith is an excellent fit with Helen of Troy, both strategically and financially. Curlsmith expands our platform in prestige beauty to capitalize on the fast-growing textured hair market. Approximately 60 percent of US consumers have curly or textured hair. Prestige textured haircare products are growing ten times faster than products for non-textured hair and twice as fast as mass-market textured hair products. Curlsmith is winning by empowering consumers with curly and textured hair to love the hair they have and simplify care.

"The business more than doubled in size between calendar years 2020 and 2021, and we expect it to continue to grow at a healthy double-digit rate. As our third transaction in Beauty so far in Phase II, Curlsmith will complement our Drybar, Revlon, and Hot Tools brands by broadening our range of offerings to consumers and professionals across the good, better and best segments and adding more prestige liquids to our portfolio. We see excellent upside potential for Curlsmith, and we expect to add significant value to it by capitalizing on our expertise in beauty and our shared services platform.

"In Beauty, we will immediately add capability through a much larger salesforce in brick-and-mortar and online, additional DTC capability, marketing, category development, appliance know-how, and an international go-to-market footprint. Once we complete the necessary integration activities, we expect to add further value to the business and achieve meaningful synergies by leveraging Helen of Troy's highly capable global sourcing, distribution, and back-office shared service capabilities."

DETAILS:

  • Curlsmith generated $18 million in sales in 2020. WWD reported the business is projected to do between $40 million and $42 million in net sales for this year.
  • Helen of Troy said the brand’s sales are projected to continue growing in the double digits and Curlsmith will immediately become the most profitable brand in its portfolio. 
  • The total purchase consideration, net of cash acquired, was $150 million in cash, subject to certain customary closing adjustments. The $150 million deal implies a pre-synergy multiple of less than 10x estimated calendar year 2022 adjusted EBITDA. The acquisition is expected to be immediately accretive.
  • When the transaction closes, Berski will leave the business, but the rest of the Curlsmith team will stay on under Helen of Troy's ownership.
  • In January 2021, Curlsmith closed a Series A financing, led by BFG Partners, to fuel growth.
  • In December 2020, Helen of Troy bought the Drybar haircare business, Drybar Products, for $255 million in cash. The transaction does not include the salon business. 
  • In June 2021, Helen of Troy Limited sold its mass-market Personal Care business, not including the Latin America and Caribbean regions, to HRB Brands for $44.7 million in cash.
  • Financo Raymond James advised Curlsmith on the deal.


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