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Violet Grey Said Exploring Deal Options

In May, the business got a $1.35 million loan from Adam Pritzker's Assembled Brands.

Luxury beauty concept Violet Grey is exploring deal options, including fundraising, a handful of industry sources have said.

Violet Grey is known for curating high-end beauty and wellness products that have been approved by a vetting process that the retailer terms “the Violet Code.” The business was founded by Cassandra Grey in 2013.

The business sells cult-y favorites like Augustinus Bader, Hanacure and Vintner’s Daughter, and got an investment from Shiseido in 2018. Back in 2017, the company was said to have inked a partnership with Amazon to sell luxury beauty products on the platform, but the deal fell through, sources said.

Recently, Violet Grey said that it would evolve the product assortment to include 15 percent black-owned brands after Aurora James launched the 15 Percent Pledge.

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Multiple sources said Shiseido is looking to shed its stake in the business, and one source said that Violet Grey is working with investment bank Ohana. The business is expected to do around $15 million in sales for 2020.

The company also has financial backing from Beechwood Capital, an early investor, and closed a $1.35 million senior secured credit facility from Adam Pritzker’s Assembled Brands, a financing business, and Agility Capital, a venture debt fund, in May.

Ohana, Violet Grey and Shiseido declined to comment.

One source noted that Violet Grey may be well positioned in luxury beauty now that Neiman Marcus has filed for bankruptcy and Barneys New York has gone out of business. But high-end beauty retailing concepts have not fared well in the M&A market in recent years, and processes for Space NK, FeelUnique, Cos Bar and Cult Beauty have fizzled out. Bluemercury, the specialty beauty retailer owned by Macy’s Inc., is said to have tapped Goldman Sachs to explore options, but industry sources said that process was put on hold due to the coronavirus.

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