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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, P&G acquired a buzzy beauty brand, the parent of Morphe filed for bankruptcy and L’Oréal made its first metaverse investment.
Check out the latest dealflow:
Mielle Organics, a textured hair brand that is a viral favorite on TikTok, was acquired by Procter & Gamble. Mielle was founded in 2014 by Monique and Melvin Rodriguez, and the husband-and-wife team will continue to lead the brand under P&G Beauty. As part of the deal, Mielle and P&G will each donate $10 million to Mielle Cares, a nonprofit providing economic opportunity in Black and Brown communities. Investors in Mielle include New Voices Fund for Women of Color and Berkshire Partners. “Today is a remarkable moment for our brand and for the climb of Black entrepreneurs everywhere as we collectively continue to break barriers and accelerate the opportunities for growth,” said Monique Rodriguez.
Forma Brands, the parent of beauty brand Morhpe, filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy filing includes an agreement to be acquired by an investor group for $33 million. The move to enter Chapter 11 was reportedly being mulled since October. Last week, Morphe said it will close all U.S. stores. Additional brands owned by Forma include Ariana Grande’s R.E.M. Beauty and Lipstick Queen.
Skincare brand Bliss World was acquired from consumer investment firm Catterton by AS Beauty, a joint venture between e.l.f. Beauty cofounders Alan and Joey Shamah and pajama entrepreneurs in the Azrak family. Starting as a spa business, Bliss World now has a presence in more than 30,000 stores, including Target, CVS and Walmart, according to WWD. Along with L Catterton, previous owners of Bliss World include LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Starwood Resorts and Steiner Leisure.
Birch Benders, a baking brand that makes pancake and waffle mixes, was acquired by Hometown Food Company from Sovos Brands. Hometown, which is controlled by Byrnwood Partners, owns a portfolio of brands acquired from JM Smucker Co. and U.S. rights to Pillsbury’s shelf-stable baking products. The acquisition will expand Hometown’s products in the better-for-you, breakfast and baking categories.
No Meat Factory, a plant-based alternative protein maker, raised $42 million in a Series B round. Tengelmann Growth Partners led the round, with participation from Emil Capital Partners. Founded in 2019, No Meat produces nuggets and hamburgers and whole-muscle alternatives for brand partners from a headquarters in British Columbia. With the funding, the company is planning to build out production in North America and globally, while expanding R&D.
Butter Payments, a fintech company helping subscription businesses prevent accidental churn, raised $22 million in a Series B funding round. Norwest Venture Partners led the round, with participation from Atomic, Transpose Platform and Spring Tide Capital. “We’re building a world in which every online business is instantly 5+% more valuable – simply by opening up access to the users who want their service already,” CEO Vijay Menon wrote in a blog post.
Slate Milk, a maker of high protein chocolate milks and lattes, raised $10.5 million in a Series A funding round, BevNet reported. The funding will support a new product that is set to launch in the coming weeks, and help the brand expand nationally.
On-demand beauty service Glamsquad secured a minority investment from Boathouse Capital, WWD reported. With business picking back up for the app-based service following the lifting of pandemic restrictions, Glamsquad is planning to expand to 15-20 new cities, build out its team and invest in experiential marketing. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.
Digital Village, NFT marketplace and metaverse tech startup, received a minority investment from L’Oréal venture capital arm BOLD. The investment is part of a seed round, which was co-led by the Silicon Valley-based VR Fund. Founded in 2021 by brand and sustainability consultant Evelyn Mora, Digital Village offers scalable technologies centered around digital identities and assets. The amount of the investment, which was the first metaverse-focused check from L’Oréal, was not disclosed.
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