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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 the ecommerce and consumer goods landscape.
This week, giants of beauty and personal care are adding acne and skincare products to their portfolios, Purple acquires another mattress maker and ecommerce SaaS companies join forces. Plus, Petfolk raises funding from a host of prominent names in DTC, music and more.
Here's the latest:
Mergers and acquisitions
Drug store chain CVS is set to acquire home health provider Signify Health for $8 billion, the companies announced on Tuesday. The deal marks a new push beyond the pharmacy walls for CVS at a time when retailers like Amazon and Walmart are expanding in the healthcare space. In fact, CVS reportedly beat out Amazon to secure the Signify deal. Signify Health combines a network of providers and 10,000 clinicians across all 50 states with technology and analytics capabilities. Clinicians make home-based visits and assess a patient’s needs, then connect them with follow-up care and resources. Following the deal, Signify Health CEO Kyle Armbrester will continue to lead Signify as part of CVS Health.
Church & Dwightannounced the acquisition of Hero, the maker of The Mighty Patch and other acne treatment products. The $630 million deal consists of cash and 10% restricted Church & Dwight stock. Church & Dwight said Mighty Patch is the #2 acne brand in the United States, and the #1 patch brand in acne. Going forward, Church & Dwight is planning to expand what it calls the currently “limited” distribution of Hero, which is sold only in the US. As of June 30, Hero reported net sales for the previous 12 months of $115 million, with a trailing EBITDA of about $45 million. The brand's EBITDA was 40% of revenue. Church & Dwight makes and markets personal care, household and specialty products through a portfolio of brands including Arm & Hammer, Oxiclean, Nair and Orajel.
DTC mattress brand Purple Innovation is acquiringIntellibed, the maker of a gel-based mattress designed for back support, spinal alignment and pressure point relief. The stock deal is for 8 million shares of Purple Class A common stock. Purple may also issue 1.5 million shares of Class A common stock to Intellibed securityholders, depending upon the price of the Class A common stock over the next 18 months. Intellibed had approximately $50 million in revenue in 2021, the companies said. Intellibed is a longtime licensee of Purple personal gel products, so the deal will help the brand consolidate intellectual property. At the same time, Purple is looking to accelerate its entrance into the luxury market.
Skincare brand Tata Harper is set to be acquired by Korean cosmetics giant Amorepacific. Founded in 2010, Tata Harper is a pioneering clean beauty brand that sells in 25 online stores and 800 brick-and-mortar retailers. With the deal, Amorepacific will expand to Europe and the Americas, and said it is taking a “firm focus” on North America. With its scale, the company said it can also increase the profitability of Tata Harper.
CommerceHub is set to acquireChannelAdvisor in a deal that brings together a pair of prominent software companies that help brands and retailers manage ecommerce operations. Under the terms of the deal, shareholders in ChannelAdvisor will receive $23.10 per share in cash, representing a 57% premium over ChannelAdvisor’s share price at the close of trading on Sept. 2. That values it at about $663 million, according to MarketWatch. The deal will take ChannelAdvisor private.
"CommerceHub and ChannelAdvisor have both established themselves as leading solutions for different segments of online retailers and brands. By coming together, we can provide an even broader network, enabling our combined customers to grow their businesses by discovering new products, new brands, and new channels," said CommerceHub CEO Bryan Dove, in a statement.
Grocery delivery marketplace Instacartacquired Eversight, an AI-powered pricing and promotions platform for CPG brands and retailers. Eversight’s technology allows brands and retailers to test customized pricing and promotions directly with individual customers, and provides insights about how those offers resonated with consumers. The acquisition will give brands access to these tools through Instacart Ads. “With higher inflation and the average cost of groceries up, we're taking even more steps to make food and daily essentials more affordable," said Fidji Simo, CEO of Instacart. Terms were not disclosed.
Marketing company WPP acquired Newcraft, a Dutch ecommerce consultancy with clients including Ahold Delhaize, Pon Holdings and Yakul. With the deal, Newcraft’s 155 employees will join Wunderman Thompson, WPP’s commerce-focused agency. “Newcraft brings a unique mix of commerce expertise in strategy and operations and fuses it with industry-specific capability across retail, FMCG, wholesale and mobility,” said Neil Stewart, CEO of Wunderman Thompson Commerce & Technology.
Social media platform Reddit is looking to grow its advertising capabilities with the acquisition of Spiketrap, an audience contextualization company. Reddit said the addition of the company’s technology “will help improve Reddit ad relevance and performance through upleveled targeting, quality scoring, and engagement prediction.” The Spiketrap team joined Reddit, and is set to work on projects across the company’s ad business.
Walmart invested in Sustainable Beef. (Photo via Walmart)
Walmart is making an equity investment in Sustainable Beef LLC, that will fund the completion of a new beef processing facility in North Platte, Nebraska. “We know Sustainable Beef LLC has a responsible approach to beef processing, one that includes creating long-term growth for cattle ranchers and family farmers. This investment provides greater visibility into the beef supply chain and complements Walmart’s regeneration commitment to improve grazing management,” said Tyler Lehr, senior vice president of merchandising for deli services, meat and seafood, Walmart US. Terms were not disclosed.
Veterinary care platform Petfolk raised $40 million in a Series A funding round. The funding round was led by White Star Capital and Freshly founder Michael Wystrach. Participants also included Triple Point Capital, and musicians Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley, Mark Wystrach and Cameron Duddy of the band Midland, Jimmie Johnson, Erik Jones and NASCAR legend Danica Patrick.
A number of notable DTC founders and business leaders also joined as investors in Petfolk, including Ty Haney (Outdoor Voices) Trina Spear and Heather Hassan (FIGS Scrubs), Carter Comstock and Alberto Lopez Toledo (Freshly), Matt Lombardi and Kevin Moran (Beam), David Nolan and Kevin Glynn (Butternut Box), Mayur Gupta (CMO of Krayken), Bob Davis (Lycos), Jason Finger and Billy Libby (Upper90), Mark Cushing (Animal Policy Group), Chris Kelly (Antelligence), Arthur Rubinfeld (Airvision) and Seth Waugh. the CEO of PGA of America.
Offering tech-enabled veterinary care that includes virtual offerings and mobile centers, Petfolk is currently operating in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The company said it will see 40,000 pets this year, which will be 5,000% year-over-year growth.
Ecommerce provider NextPlat said it is investing $7 million in the recapitalization of Progressive Care Inc., a personalized healthcare company that runs on-demand pharmacy services provider PharmcoRx. With the deal, NextPlat will assist Progressive in the development of new healthcare and lifestyle products, which in turn will be sold via NextPlat's ecommerce marketplaces. With the deal, NextPlat CEO Charles M. Fernandez will become the chair of Progressive’s board, while current chairman Alan Jay Weisberg will become vice chair and CEO of the company.
Trending in Operations
Campbell Soup Company CEO Mark Clouse offered thoughts on messaging amid inflationary shifts in consumer behavior.
After months of elevated inflation and interest rate hikes that have the potential to cool demand, consumers are showing more signs of shifting behavior.
It’s showing up in retail sales data, but there’s also evidence in the observations of the brands responsible for grocery store staples.
The latest example came this week from Campbell Soup Company. CEO Mark Clouse told analysts that the consumer continues to be “resilient” despite continued price increases on food, but found that “consumers are beginning to feel that pressure” as time goes on.
This shows up in the categories they are buying. Overall, Clouse said Campbell sees a shift toward shelf-stable items, and away from more expensive prepared foods.
There is also change in when they make purchases. People are buying more at the beginning of the month. That’s because they are stretching paychecks as long as possible.
These shifts change how the company is communicating with consumers.
Clouse said the changes in behavior are an opportunity to “focus on value within our messaging without necessarily having to chase pricing all the way down.”
“No question that it's important that we protect affordability and that we make that relevant in the categories that we're in," Clouse said. "But I also think there's a lot of ways to frame value in different ways, right?”
A meal cooked with condensed soup may be cheaper than picking up a frozen item or ordering out. Consumers just need a reminder. Even within Campbell’s own portfolio, the company can elevate brands that have more value now, even if they may not always get the limelight.
The open question is whether the shift in behavior will begin to show up in the results of the companies that have raised prices. Campbell’s overall net sales grew 5% for the quarter ended April 30, while gross profit margins held steady around 30%. But the category-level results were more uneven. U.S. soup sales declined 11%, though the company said that was owed to comparisons with the quarter when supply chains reopened a year ago and expressed confidence that the category is seeing a longer-term resurgence as more people cook at home following the pandemic. Snacks, which includes Goldfish and Pepperidge Farm, were up 12% And while net sales increased overall, the amount of products people are buying is declining. Volumes were down 7%.
These are trends happening across the grocery store. Campbell is continuing to compete. It is leading with iconic brands, and a host of different ways to consume them. It is following that up with innovation that makes the products stand out. Then, it is driving home messaging that shows consumers how to fit the products into their lives, and even their tightening spending plans.
Campbell Soup is more than 150 years old, and has seen plenty of difficult economic environments. It is also a different business today, and will continue to evolve. At the end of the day, continued execution is what’s required.
“If it's good food, people are going to buy it, especially if it's a great value,” Clouse said.