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Miley Cyrus, Anne Hathaway, Ariana Grande ink consumer goods deals
Dealboard has funding and M&A news from Dole, Unilever Ventures, Nordstrom and Kangol.
Welcome to Dealboard. In this weekly feature, The Current is providing a look at the mergers, acquisitions and venture capital deals making waves in ecommerce, CPG and retail.
This week, leading entertainers are taking investment in consumer brands into their own hands. Meanwhile, Dole and Chiquita strike a fresh deal, Kangol is under new ownership and Unilever invests in a scalp brand that is set to go global.
Ryan Cohen (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
Triple Whale, a data platform for ecommerce brands, raised $25 million in Series B funding. The round was led by NFX and Elephant, with strategic participation from Shopify. With a focus on direct-to-consumer brands, Triple Whale provides centralization, visualization and automation of data originating from across disparate channels, as well as proprietary attribution. Founded by Maxx Blank, AJ Orbach, and Ivan Chernykh, the company said it had 1,400% year-over-year growth, and is working with more than 5,000 paying brands.
Paperstack, an ecommerce lending firm, raised $9 million in equity and debt, according to Betakit. The equity was financed by Gaingels, Techstars Ventures, Ontario Centre of Innovation, as well as undisclosed former executives at Clearco, TD Bank, Wealthsimple, Sezzle, and employees at Shopify, Google, and Apple. The company aims to support brands that sell high-margin products on Shopify, Amazon, Etsy, and WooCommerce
Ryan Cohen, the cofounder of Chewy and activist investor, acquired a large stake in Nordstrom, according to the Wall Street Journal. Cohen is seeking a board refresh, with a focus on replacing former Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Mark Tritton, as the retailer seeks to cut costs. “While Mr. Cohen hasn’t sought any discussions with us in several years, we are open to hearing his views, as we do with all Nordstrom shareholders,” a Nordstrom spokeswoman said in a statement responding to the news. Cohen has become known as a meme stock investor, having previously invested in GameStop and Bed Bath & Beyond.
Straand, an Australian brand that provides prebiotic ingredients for the scalp microbiome, received a $2 million investment from Unilever Ventures. The pre-seed funding will help the brand expand into the U.S., UK, Europe and China. "There has been limited innovation in the scalp health category for many years and it is ripe for disruption," said Rachel Harris, partner at Unilever Ventures, in a statement.
JOKR, the instant grocery delivery company, raised $50 million in a Series C investment round, Techcrunch reported. The company’s post-money valuation is $1.3 billion. The round was led by G Squared, with participation from GGV Capital, Tiger Global Management and HV Capita. It comes as JOKR is seeking to expand in Brazil, which currently accounts for 50% of its business.
Miley Cyrus, the singer, invested in self-tanning brand Dolce Glow for an undisclosed amount. Dolce Glow is owned by Isabel Vita, a Hollywood spray tanning artist whose clients include Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez and Katy Perry. Vita called Cyrus "the best business partner I could have ever dreamed of.”
Anne Hathaway, the Hollywood actress, invested in The Every Co., a food tech company that uses fermentation to make proteins that taste like animal meat. The investment, which is the first B2B investment for Hathaway, comes as Every is scaling up following seven years of R&D. The company makes egg proteins, and products including a smoothie, juice and vegan macaron. Terms were not disclosed.
Synergio, a biotech company developing next-generation plant bio-actives for healthier and more sustainable personal care & cosmetic products, received a minority investment from Symrise Cosmetic Ingredients. With the deal, the companies are entering a strategic partnership with that will see Symrise expand its product protection portfolio with plant-based technologies. Terms were not disclosed.
Mergers & acquisitions
Kangol has a new owner. (Photo by Mike Von on Unsplash)
Ariana Grande, the singer and entrepreneur, is set to acquire her beauty brand r.e.m. Beauty from Forma Brands, Retail Dive reports. Replacing a licensing agreement between Grande and Forma, the deal comes just weeks after Forma filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. At the same time, r.e.m. is preparing an expansion into Sephora stores in Europe this month.
Kangol will be acquired by Bollman Hat Company from Frasers Group. Bollman has owned the rights to produce Kangol headwear products since 2001. Now, it owns a 51% stake in the British brand. Frasers, the UK-based fashion retail brand, will maintain a 49% stake in the company and continue to sell Kangol in its stores. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Dole sold its fresh vegetables division to a brand owned by Chiquita for $293 million. The 3,000-employee division includes products such as lettuce, broccoli, salads and meal kits. It clocked $1.28 billion in revenue for the year ended Dec. 31, 2021. Now, its products and operations will be under the banner of Fresh Express, which is a subsidiary of Chiquita.Fresystem, a frozen pastry company specializing in croissants, was acquired by Ferrero Group, which owns Butterfinger, Nutella and other prominent confectionery brands. Fresystem makes pastries under its own brand, and also manufactures for third parties out of a Naples production facility. The two companies have been partners for several years, and are now set to join forces, Just Food reported. Terms were not disclosed.
Lowe's completed a deal to sell its Canadian retail business to the private equity firm Sycamore Partners. In Canada, the home improvement retailer's 450 stores and affiliate retailers will now operate as RONA Inc. The deal was first announced in November.
Trending in Brand News
This Week in Commerce: Nike earnings, Fed rate decision
Check out the agenda for March 20-24.
Welcome to a new week. Earnings offer a bellwether for the consumer economy this week, as key brands like Nike and General Mills will report results. Elsewhere, all eyes will be on the Federal Reserve as it announces its latest decision on interest rates.
Fed interest rate decision: The Federal Reserve Open Markets Committee announces its decision on whether and by how much to hike benchmark interest rates following its two-day meeting. The Fed has been hiking interest rates rapidly in an effort to bring down 40-year-high inflation, but slowed the pace at the February meeting with a 0.25% increase. (March 22, 2 p.m.)
Durable goods orders: The U.S. Commerce Department releases data on orders from manufacturers for goods that are designed to last more than three years. This is considered an indicator of business activity. In January, orders dropped at the steepest rate since April 2020. (March 24, 8:30 a.m.)
Monday, March 20: Boxed, Foot Locker
Tuesday, March 21: Nike, GameStop
Wednesday, March 22: Petco, Chewy
Thursday, March 23: General Mills, Express