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Purple rejects takeover, Nick Kyrgios invests, $20M for Boxed
Dealboard has details on acquisitions in CPG and social marketing.
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, there are new investment funds for QR codes and ecommerce software. Plus, Purple rejects a takeover bid, and a tennis star gets a voice with a beverage startup.
Tennis star Nick Kyrgios took an equity stake in Alive, a no-sugar probiotic soft drink developed by Australia’s Gen U Brands. Kyrgios will help the startup brand raise its profile, and is also offering business advice. “As an international citizen, so to speak, he brings a different perspective to the business,” CEO Andrew Blew told Business News Australia.
Beaconstac, a QR code customer engagement platform, raised $25 million in a Series A round. Telescope Partners led the financing, with participation from existing investor Accel. Over the lat year, the company helped businesses create 1.8 million QR codes, which were scanned over 150 million times by consumers. It is used by Revlon, Nestle, FedEx, and Marriott. The company is planning to increase its 75-person workforce by 200% in 2023.
Boxed, the bulk delivery service and ecommerce software provider, raised $20 million as it seeks to either become profitable, or sell itself. The company received $10 million upfront from an unknown lender, and could receive another $10 million upon completion of certain milestones. “This new financing will provide greater flexibility for us to continue to execute on our strategic vision and the strategic alternatives process,” said Boxed CEO Chieh Huang.
Food Should Taste Good, a natural tortilla snacks brand, was acquired by Real Food From the Ground Up from General Mills, Just Food reported. It comes about a decade after General Mills acquired Food Should Taste Good. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Purple rejected a bid to be acquired by Coliseum Capital Management in a takeover bid that was submitted in September. Purple announced last week that it declined the offer in November after Coliseum proved unwilling to $4.35 per share. In a statement, Purple Chairman Paul Zepf said the proposal “undervalues Purple and fails to recognize the strength of our business today as well as our compelling future prospects.”
Tinuiti, a performance marketing firm, acquired Ampush, a growth marketing agency. It’s a move that is designed to expand the paid social capabilities of Tinuiti. Ampush offers performance creative, optimization and analytics. Founded in 2010, Ampush works with ecommerce and subscription businesses such as Instacart, Blenders Eyewear and STARZ. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Founder Jesse Pujji shared these lessons over 13 years building the business.
\u201cI just sold my company for life changing $.\n\n13 years later, I'm an overnight success.\n\nHere are 13 lessons from the journey, by year:\u201d— Jesse Pujji (@Jesse Pujji) 1674583389
Henkel completed its acquisition of outlets in Malaysia and Taiwan from Shiseido Professional. It’s the final piece of an acquisition that began in January. Subsequently, Henkel closed on deals to acquire the haircare business in China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand. Shiseido joins a portfolio at Henkel that also includes Schwarzkopf Professional, Authentic Beauty Concept, Bonacure and Igora Royal.
WeCommerce and Tiny are combining to form a single technology holding company. The combined company will be known as Tiny, with WeCommerce operating as a software and services group inside the business. The combined company will be valued at about $910 million. Tiny cofounders Andrew Wilkinson and Chris Sparling will serve as co-CEOs, while WeCommerce CFO David Charron will serve as CFO. Tech investor Bill Ackman will own 15.4% of the company through his firm Table Holdings, and is the largest non-management shareholder.WPF Holdings acquired ecommerce assets of KPOP 1004, which is a specialty store for K-POP and K-Beauty speciality store. With this, WPF Holdings is set to form a subsidiary called K-Shop. This will include the online shop, and kiosks at KPOP1004 in-store locations that provide shopping beyond what is offered in-store. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Trending in Marketing
Consumer sentiment dips to open March for the first time in 4 months
Inflation expectations fell to two-year lows, the University of Michigan reported.
After months of gains, consumer sentiment fell to start the month of March.
According to the University of Michigan’s preliminary data for March, sentiment fell for the first time in four months. Currently, it is 5% below February, but is 7% higher than the same month of 2022.
Driving the declines were lower sentiment among lower-income, less-educated, and younger consumers, as well as some of the highest stockholders.
Higher prices resulting from stubborn inflation continue to be a big drag on sentiment across all categories. While the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and other financial institutions figures to play a role, most of the interviews for UM’s data collection were completed prior to the SVB turmoil.
(Source: University of Michigan)
Looking ahead, consumers do see improvement on the horizon for prices. Year-ahead inflation expectations fell from 4.1% in February to 3.8% in March. That’s the lowest reading since April 2021. Long-run expectations also fell to 2.8%, which was below the range of 2.9%-3.1% for only the second time in 201 months.
The takeaway: While these readings are still well above pre-pandemic levis, they will likely be welcome news among economists at the Federal Reserve as a signal that inflation is not becoming implanted in the consumer psyche. But with the introduction of a banking crisis and inflation remaining stubborn, the Fed’s path is not clear, and that will extend to consumers.
“With ongoing turbulence in the financial sector and uncertainty over the Fed’s possible policy response, inflation expectations are likely to be volatile in the months ahead,” wrote UM Survey of Consumers Director Joanne Hsu.