Private equity company TA Associates has invested in Paula’s Choice as part of a majority recapitalization in partnership with existing investor Bertram Capital. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the transaction is valued at roughly $275 million, according to industry sources.
Founder Paula Begoun, who started the company in 1995, still owns a stake in the business. TA received regulatory approval for the transaction from the Federal Trade Commission in March. Paula’s Choice’s revenue hovers around $70 million in net sales, industry sources said. The company generates most of its sales from the site, and more than 90 percent of its web site traffic comes from unpaid, organic sources, according to a statement from Bertram.
Paula’s Choice, headquartered in Seattle, sells skin-care and cosmetics products online. The company also has a forum called Beautypedia for reviewing products from other brands.
Begoun, the author of “The Original Beauty Bible” and “Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me,” started the operation after years of researching and reviewing beauty products led her to develop her own line. The web site also features a section with advice on skin care, hair care and makeup, as well as information on product ingredients.
TA Associates, headquartered in Boston, also backs Zadig & Voltaire and Full Sail University. The firm beat out the Hut Group, which made a roughly $250 million bid, according to sources. Piper Jaffray and Financo advised on the deal.
Bertram first invested in the business in November 2012, and has expanded the brand into more than 25 countries and into retail channels like Nordstrom and QVC. “The Bertram consumer team, led by Ryan Craig and Tom Beerle, successfully executed our differentiated value creation strategy to build a true omnichannel retailer in just over three years,” said Bertram managing partner Jeff Drazan in a statement. “By combining the vision of Paula Begoun, the innovation of our team of specialists at Bertram Labs, and the hard work of our management team, we succeeded in rapidly growing the business, the brand and company value.”