Castanea Partners and Main Post Partners are teaming up to buy makeup business Becca Cosmetics, according to sources familiar with the deal.
The private equity companies will take 100 percent ownership, sources said. The firms will pay nearly $200 million for the business, sources estimated. Right now, the brand is majority owned by Luxury Brand Partners, which also owns Oribe, R+Co and a handful of other beauty companies. The transaction is expected to close in mid August.
Both Castanea and Main Post have beauty investment histories. Castanea is invested in both Drybar and First Aid Beauty, and backed Urban Decay before the business’ 2013 sale to L’Oréal. Main Post backed Too Faced Cosmetics before it was taken over by General Atlantic LLC in 2015.
Becca is on track to do $80 million in net sales this year, up from $40 million in 2015, according to industry sources. But the brand wasn’t always so successful. When chief executive officer Robert DeBaker came on board five years ago, Becca was struggling, as he previously told WWD. DeBaker, who declined to comment for this story, is expected to remain in place under new ownership, sources said.
After reconciling the brand’s number of stockkeeping units, DeBaker turned Becca’s focus towards the complexion category. The goal became to make a foundation that uses light technology to generate complexion flexibility, in part, to keep the sku count low. Earlier this year, Becca launched Aqua Luminous Perfecting Foundation, which aims to cover all skin tones with nine shade options.“We ended up launching a foundation range that has nine shades that covers the exact same full spectrum that our 20-shade range does,” DeBaker said previously.
In 2015, the company collaborated with beauty vlogger Jaclyn Hill on what was supposed to be a limited-edition product — a highlighter called Champagne Pop — that sold out quickly and is now the brand’s number-one seller, making up about 15 percent of total sales. Becca and Hill teamed up again for the Becca x Jaclyn Hill Champagne Collection, an expansion of the original collaboration, which did roughly $3.5 million in sales during its first day online at sephora.com, industry sources said.
“What’s happened over five years is we’ve done the right product with the right consumer mix,” DeBaker said, following the Champagne Collection launch. “We’re matching what’s happening to the demographics of the country with messaging that’s spot on, and Jaclyn fits that whole bucket because inclusion is her whole story.”
Social media is a significant part of the Becca equation. The brand’s earned media value grew 226 percent year-over-year, and was up 21 percent for the previous quarter, according to data from Tribe Dynamics. Tribe noted that the brand did well on social media despite pulling the eyeshadow palette from its latest collaboration with Hill, which happened after reports of inconsistent quality from customers.
“Becca had an interesting quarter with the complaints and ensuing controversy surrounding inconsistencies with the much-anticipated Jaclyn Hill Champagne Glow eye shadow palette,” said Tribe’s Brit McCorquodale. “Despite these complications, Becca posted a remarkably successful Q2, delivering the highest year-over-year growth and quarter-over-quarter growth of its competitive set. This speaks to the strength of their influencer family and goodwill from consumers, both stemming in part from the brand’s effective influencer strategy. Thanks in part to Becca’s genuine, emotive response, the Champagne Glow collection continued to do well following its in-store launch. The hashtag #champagneglow accrued $5 million [in] EMV in Q2, while #beccaxjaclynhill followed close behind with a significant total of $3.5 million.”
Laura Mercier founder Janet Gurwitch will be Becca’s operating partner on behalf of Castanea, and Michael McNamara, formerly of Too Faced, will be the operating partner for Main Post, according to a source. Piper Jaffray is handling the deal process on behalf of Becca.
Becca is one of many beauty companies on the sale track lately. Earlier in July, L’Oréal unveiled a $1.2 billion deal for IT Cosmetics. Before that, L’Oréal made an offer to buy Société des Thermes de Saint-Gervais-les-Bains and the license to use the Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc beauty brand, as well as a deal for Atelier Cologne. Shiseido has also been inking deals lately, scooping up the Dolce & Gabbana fragrance license, and buying Laura Mercier and ReVive.