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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, digitally native brands Manscaped and Casper get cash infusions, while Tom Ford finds a home with Estée Lauder. Plus, new funding for an ecommerce SaaS aggregator, Better Trucks and a haircare formula addressing gray hair.
MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS
Estée Lauder acquires Tom Ford
The Estée Lauder Companies announced an agreement to acquire Tom Ford for $2.3 billion, ending a long courtship that reportedly included a variety of suitors after the luxury brand put itself up for sale earlier this year.
The brands are familiar to each other, as Estée Lauder already owns the license for Tom Ford Beauty. The deal will also expand Tom Ford’s longstanding licensing deal with Italian luxury house Ermenegildo Zegna N.V. to include men’s and women’s fashion, accessories and underwear, with Zegna acquiring operations necessary for this licensee role. Tom Ford also has a license with eyewear brand Marcolin that will be extended.
Founder Tom Ford is set to remain with the brand as the “creative visionary” through the end of 2023, while Domenico De Sole will remain as a consultant through that time.
Dropshipping Direct acquires Empire Ecommerce
The move will strengthen four-year-old Dropshipping Direct’s systems and customer base, while while simultaneously opening doors for new strategic partnerships. Through an automated system, Dropshipping Direct manages product sourcing, selling, buying, shipping and returns for sellers.
Manscaped raises Series B
Since raising a Series A in 2020, the six-year-old brand has grown from $65 million in revenue to $300 million. This year, it signed on with celebrity partner Pete Davidson, and expanded its retail partnership with chains such as Walgreens.
“This new capital allows us to continue our trajectory and to accelerate our global omnichannel expansion and product development as we strengthen our position as the leading men's grooming and lifestyle brand,” said Paul Tran, Manscaped CEO, in a statement. "The investment also strategically strengthens our position as we ramp up for an exciting holiday season in 2022 and look forward to a robust product roadmap in 2023 and beyond.”
Casper secures $80M credit facility
Side view of the breathable and ergnomic Casper mattress i… | Flickr (www.flickr.com)
Digitally native mattress brand Casper secured an $80 million credit facility that will provide working capital, and allow the company to retire an existing credit facility. The financing was arranged by Second Avenue Capital Partners, LLC, with support from Tiger Finance. It comes after Casper was taken private a year ago in an acquisition deal with Durational Capital Management earlier this year. The brand initially went public in February 2020.
Relay Commerce raises $27M for acquisitions
The funding was led by Primary Venture Partners, Twelve Below, AlleyCorp, Max Ventures and TriplePoint Capital. It will be used to acquire more businesses, as the company seeks to apply the aggregator used to roll up ecommerce brands for software business.
“We’re building for the SMB ecommerce merchant that wants enterprise-grade functionality made accessible to the sorts of teams that wear many hats,” wrote CEO Ricardo Hinds. “We’re also pairing our team’s knowledge of scaling software businesses with our appetite for acquiring bootstrapped software businesses.”
Robot-powered microfulfillment center company raises $72M
Attabotics, a 3D robotics supply chain company, raised $71.7 million in a Series C-1 round. The financing was led by Export Development Canada, with participation from Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board through Teachers’ Venture Growth.
The company condenses fulfillment warehouses into a single storage structure, with robotic shuttles called Attabots inside picking goods, and presenting them to workers outside. The aim is to allow warehouses to be located in densely-populated areas, where they will be closer to customers.
Better Trucks raises $15M for last-mile delivery
Better Trucks. (Courtesy photo)
It’s the first outside investment for the company, which was founded by Andy Whiting and Weston Webb in 2019. Better Trucks provides next-day and same-day residential delivery, serving brands in the Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Texas, as well as delivery companies like ShipBob. WIth the funding, it is planning to double a coverage area that currently extends to 25 metro areas across 17 states, and invest in additional warehouse capacity. It will be hiring in technology, operations and corporate functions, as well as building a flexible driver workforce.
Zest raises $4.2M for gifting platform
Zest, a platform that allows ecommerce brands to create a gifting model, raised $4.2 million in a seed round led by Google Ventures (GV). Participating in the funding were BoxGroup, Character, Operator Partners, Bungalow Capital and Company Ventures.
Zest’s platform places a “Send as a Gift” button on product or cart pages. Gifters can then choose to send a digital greeting card, add their own message and instantly deliver the gift to the recipient via text or email.
“The app not only makes the act of digital gifting easy and meaningful, but we go a step further and make it possible for brands to turn that purchase into a real relationship with recipients," said Alex Ingram, Zest's CEO, in a statement.
Arey raises $4.15M for anti-gray formula
Arey. (Courtesy photo)
Founded by Allison Conrad and Jay Small, Arey focuses on restoring gray hair, offering a supplement and hair serum known as The System that is available through one-time or subscription purchase. The brand saw 975% growth in subscription in the last year, making up over 70% of their revenue. The funding will assist with R&D and distribution expansion.
Here are a few more deals we spotted this week thanks to the reporting of Techcrunch:
- Sumner International, which launches new beauty brands by harnessing social media data, raised $5 million in a seed round. Investors included GDP Ventures, Teja Ventures, Gushcloud International and angel investors Koh Boon Hwee and Shirley Crystal Tan. NYX founder and Bespoke Beauty Brands CEO Toni Ko is also joining.
- Impacked, a marketplace for green packaging, raised $2.5 million in a seed round led by TenOneTen Ventures. The platform allows brands to search, filter, sample and quote packaging from suppliers.
- Pickle Robot Company, which makes robots to unload trucks, raised a $26 million Series A led by Ranpak, JS Capital, Schusterman Family Investments, Soros Capital and Catapult Ventures.
Trending in Economy
On the Move has the latest from Amazon, Lovesac and more.
This week, leadership is changing at GameStop, Sorel and Beautycounter. Meanwhile, key executives are departing at Amazon, Wayfair and Lovesac.
Here’s a look at the latest shuffles:
GameStop CEO fired
GameStop announced the termination of Matthew Furlong as CEO on Wednesday. A brief statement did not provide a reason for the firing.
With the move, Chewy founder and activist investor Ryan Cohen was named executive chairman of the video game retailer. Cohen will be responsible for capital allocation and overseeing management.
It came as the company reported a 10% year-over-year decline in net sales for the first quarter. Meanwhile, the company’s net loss improved by 62%.
In an SEC filing, GameStop further added this “We believe the combination of these efforts to stabilize and optimize our core business and achieve sustained profitability while also focusing on capital allocation under Mr. Cohen’s leadership will further unlock long-term value creation for our stockholders.”
Cohen was revealed as GameStop's largest shareholder when he disclosed a 10% stake in the retailer in 2020. GameStop went on to become a leading name in the meme stock rise of 2021.
Sorel president steps down
Mark Nenow is stepping down as president of the Sorel brand in order to focus on his health.
After rising to the role in 2015, Nenow spearheaded a transformation of Columbia Sportswear-owned Sorel from a men’s workwear brand to a fashion-focused brand that led with a women’s offering of boots, sandals and sneakers.
“Mark led the brand to sales of $347 million in net sales in 2022,” said Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle, in a statement. “His leadership has been invaluable to this company, and we wish him the very best.”
Columbia will conduct a search for Nenow’s replacement. Craig Zanon, the company’s SVP of emerging brands, will lead Sorel in the interim.
Beautycounter appoints interim CEO
Beautycounter appointed board member Mindy Mackenzie as interim CEO, succeeding Marc Rey. According to the brand, Rey and the board “mutually decided to transition to a new phase of leadership for Beautycounter.”
McKenzie, a former executive at Carlyle, McKinsey and Jim Beam, will lead the company as it conducts a search for a permanent CEO. Additionally, former Natura & Co CEO Roberto Marques will join Beautycounter’s board as chair.
As part of the transition, Nicole Malozi is also joining the company as chief financial officer. She brings experience from Tatcha, Nike, and DFS Group Limited.
Amazon’s North America fulfillment chief departs
Melissa Nick, a VP of customer fulfillment for North America at Amazon, will leave the company, effective June 16, CNBC reported. Nick joined the company in 2014, and oversaw a region that included nearly 300 fulfillment centers. After doubling its supply chain footprint during the pandemic, Amazon recently reorganized its fulfillment operations to take a regional approach, as opposed to a national model that often resulted in items shipping across the country.
Wayfair’s chief commercial officer to retire
Jon Blotner (Courtesy photo)
Steve Oblak will retire from the role of chief commercial officer at home goods marketplace Wayfair. With the move, Jon Blotner will be promoted to chief commercial officer.
"Steve has served as a critical part of our leadership team and played a pivotal role in Wayfair's growth, helping us grow from a $250 million business when he joined to $12 billion in net revenue today,” said Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah, in a statement. “He oversaw countless milestones, from helping to launch the Wayfair brand as we brought together hundreds of sites into a single platform, to launching new categories, business lines, and geographies while overseeing our North American and European businesses, to leading our debut into physical retail.”
Blotner previously oversaw exclusive and specialty retail brands, as well as digital media at Wayfair. Before joining the company, he served as president of Gemvara.com prior to its 2016 acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway.
Lovesac announces CFO transition
Furniture retailer Lovesac said Donna Dellomo will retire as EVP and CFO, and move to an advisory role, effective June 30. Dellomo was with Lovesac for six years.
Keith Siegner was appointed as the next EVP and CFO. He brings experience as CFO of esports company Vindex, as well as executive roles at Yum! Brands, UBS Securities and Credit Suisse.
Additionally, Jack Krause will retire from the role of chief strategy officer, effective June 30. His responsibilities will be divided between CEO Shawn Nelson and president Mary Fox.
“Since joining Lovesac, Jack has played an instrumental role in transforming the Company into a true omni channel retailer by helping expand our physical touchpoints and digital platform as we continue to disrupt the industry,” said Nelson, in a statement.
NRF adds board members
The National Retail Federation announced the addition of five new board members. They include:
- Marguerite Adzick, founder and CEO, Addison Bay
- Harley Finkelstein, president, Shopify
- Ian Kahn, partner, PwC
- Sharon Leite, CEO, Ideal Image
- Carrie Tharp, VP, strategic industries, Google Cloud