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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 leadership and promotion news from Pacsun, Calvin Klein and CVS Health.
This week, one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies hires a new CEO, while a luxury ecommerce platform taps a successor to its founder. Plus, we’ve got news on top leadership hires and promotions at Pacsun, West Elm and Calvin Klein Americas.
Unilever appoints CEO
Hein Schumacher. (Courtesy photo)
Hein Schumacher will be the next CEO of Unilever, effective July 1. Schumacher comes to the maker of Dove, Hellmann’s and Ben & Jerry’s from Royal FrieslandCampina, where he is credited with leading turnaround efforts at the $11 billion business.
Succeeding the retiring Alan Jope, Schumacher will assume the top job at Unilever as it appears to be on the precipice of change following the appointment of activist investor Nelson Peltz to the board in May.
“The Board looks forward to Hein realising the full potential of Unilever as a winning business which delivers long-term growth and value for all its stakeholders,” said Unilever Chairman Nils Andersen, in a statement.
Brie Olson named co-CEO in Pacsun shakeup
Brie Olson. (Courtesy photo)
Brie Olson was promoted to co-CEO of Pacsun from the role of president. Olson will serve alongside co-CEO Mike Relich. With the move, Alfred Chang will transition to the CEO role at clothing brand Fear of God, which is a Pacsun brand partner. As president, Olson oversaw Pacsun’s AI and metaverse initiative, led a variety of brand partnerships and introduced a gender neutral collection.
The RealReal hires Wainwright's successor
John E. Koryl is joining The RealReal as CEO. Koryl is stepping in to lead the luxury ecommerce platform after founder Julie Wainwright stepped down in June. He comes to the company from the digital arm of Canadian Tire Corporation, and also previously played a key digital transformation leadership role while serving as president of stores and online Neiman Marcus.
West Elm taps Ralph Lauren Home lead as president
Day Korbluth. (Courtesy photo)
Day Kornbluth was named president of West Elm. Kornbluth comes to the Williams Sonoma-owned sustainable home retailer from Ralph Lauren Home, where she served as president. The company credited her track record of growing home furnishing brands with a focus on product and digital innovation. The move follows former West Elm president Alex Bellos' appointment as CEO at Food52 earlier this year.
Vera Bradley shakes up leadership
The travel and accessories retailer Vera Bradley announced a leadership shakeup that resulted in the following:
President Daren Hull, Chief Creative Officer Beatrice Mac Cabe and Chief Revenue Officer Mary Beth Trypus all saw their roles eliminated, and will be leaving the company.
The company will also add the position of SVP of merchandising and design, and is actively conducting a search.
Alison Hiatt joined Vera Bradley as chief marketing officer to oversee digital marketing, customer data and ecommerce. Hiatt brings experience from the food company Salt and Straw.
Pura Vida, which is owned by Vera Bradley, will see co-presidents Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman leave the company. With this, Vera Bradley will acquire a 25% interest in Pura Vida from Thall and Goodman for $10 million, effective January 30.
Vera Bradley said it is making these changes to "drive cost savings, add more focus on marketing and merchandising, and position the Company to deliver steady top- and bottom-line growth."
Master P named chairman of Launch Cart
Percy "Master P" Miller. (Courtesy photo)
Percy “Master P” Miller was appointed chairman of the board at Launch Cart, an ecommerce platform that bills itself as an alternative to Shopify. Alongside a rap career that yielded 90s hits with his label No Limit Records, Miller brings a track record as an entrepreneur in food and entertainment. “With his entrepreneurial spirit and deep understanding of the power of business, our partnership will make it easier for aspiring entrepreneurs to realize their dreams of starting an online business, building a brand, and generating income,” said cofounder Bernt Ullmann.
Kohler to lead Calvin Klein Americas
Donald Kohler. (Courtesy photo)
Donald Kohler was named president of Calvin Klein Americas by parent company PVH Corp. Kohler brings experience from a 15-year career in retail from Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo and Diesel. The company said his expertise includes direct-to-consumer, third-party driven business models and ecommerce. The new comes on the heels of the appointment of Inditex executive Eva Serrano as global brand president at Calvin Klein.
Skims appoints chief commercial officer
Robert Norton is joining Skims as chief commercial officer, and will lead international expansion. Norton joins the Kim Kardashian-founded shapewear brand from Moncler, where he served as president of the Americas. Over a two-decade career, he also previously served as CEO of the Americas for Roberto Cavalli and was an executive at Ralph Lauren.
“I have been a fan of Robert’s for several years and believe him to be a rare, creatively minded executive who knows how to build both a brand and a business,” said Jens Grede, cofounder and CEO of Skims, in a statement. “We are excited to have Robert on the team as we continue the evolution of SKIMS into a global retail brand.”
CVS Health creates chief product officer role
CVS Health announced a pair of appointments:
- David Joyner will join the company as EVP and president of pharmacy services, which serves employers, health plans and government. Joyner previously worked with CVS Health, and has 34 years of experience.
- Amy Bricker was named EVP and chief product officer for the consumer. She assumes the newly-created role to head consumer products and innovation after serving as president of Express Scripts.