Investment bank Piper Jaffray & Co. is said to be close to a deal to sell skin care and online beauty-product review business Paula’s Choice, according to several industry sources.
At one point, online retailer The Hut Group was the lead bidder, but one source indicates they have dropped to No. 2 in the auction. A spokeswoman from Piper Jaffray did not return a request for comment by press time. Hut also did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
Seattle-based Paula’s Choice has been backed by San Mateo, Calif., private equity firm Bertram Capital since 2012. Bertram executives did not return a request for comment by press time.
In addition to skin care and cosmetics, the business provides an online forum for product reviews for products from other brands called Beautypedia. Paula Begoun founded the business in 1995 after years of reviewing and researching beauty products led her to develop her own line. She is the author of “The Original Beauty Bible” and “Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me.”
Paula’s Choice product lines include Calm Redness Relief, Clear Blemish Control, Earth Sourced Natural, Hydralight, Moisture Boost, PC4Men, Resist Anti-Aging, Skin Balancing and Skin Recovery. The company also has an advice section where browsers can find tips on skin care, hair care and makeup, and as well information about ingredients.
Beauty assets have been popular among buyers. This week, the Estée Lauder Cos. announced it acquired another luxury fragrance, By Kilian, and in December, Encore Consumer Partners picked up a stake in Lorac.
Several other beauty assets are also conducting sales process, according to sources. Makeup brand Laura Mercier is also on the block, beauty industry sources said, being shopped to potential buyers by Moelis & Co., as is direct-to-consumer makeup and skin-care business Younique Products, which executives said in January had retained Morgan Stanley to find strategic alternatives.