Jerrod Blandino, cofounder of Too Faced Cosmetics, said the company has found a buyer who understands its whimsical, emotional positioning.
Blandino said Too Faced ultimately chose a financial buyer, rather than a strategic one, to allow the brand to retain its identity. “We really felt strongly about choosing [a buyer] who would give us wings and not weight,” Blandino told WWD. “We don’t want to lose any of the momentum that we have built.” In his view, sometimes when a brand is bought by a larger cosmetics company “the heart dies.”
The private equity firm in question is General Atlantic, which signed a deal to acquire Too Faced from its owner Weston Presidio Capital, for an estimated purchase price of $500 million.
The other two final bidders for the brand were L Capital, the fund sponsored by the LVMH Group, and the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., said financial sources.
More beauty deals are on deck for 2015. The Procter & Gamble Co. continues to sell off its beauty brands, and final bids for those assets are due on Monday, said one source. Lorac, the color cosmetics line sold in Ulta and Kohl’s, also is considering a possible sale, sources said. Lorac declined to comment.
The Irvine, Calif.-based Too Faced is estimated to generate $150 million in wholesale sales annually — and it’s growing at a rapid clip.
Too Faced president Eric Hohl said the brand’s year-over-year growth rate is 60 percent — and that’s without any major retail distribution gains. As for what’s behind that growth, Blandino quipped, “me,” and then answered that a more intense focus on brand messaging and supply chain has helped fuel the double-digit gains. He anticipates that the upcoming fall launch of Born This Way, a full-coverage foundation for $39, will continue that momentum.
Andrew Crawford, managing director and global head of General Atlantic’s retail and consumer sector, said Too Faced’s solid position in the specialty retail channel and its growth rate attracted the firm to the brand. “It has a tremendous new product growth engine lead by Jerrod and his team,” he said. The private equity firm also has investments in Tory Burch and Alibaba Group, and is keen on adding more beauty to the portfolio. “Beauty is top of mind,” Crawford said.
As for General Atlantic’s plans for Too Faced, the firm plans to broaden its international business, which currently accounts for roughly 25 percent of company sales.
Too Faced was founded in 1998 by Blandino and Jeremy Johnson, and in 2012, the private equity firm Weston Presidio purchased a majority stake.
Blandino and Johnson and the senior management team will retain significant ownership in the company.
General Atlantic plans to tap beauty industry veteran Ken Stevens as Too Faced’s chairman. His career in beauty includes a number of high-level posts, including as chairman of Ulta Beauty, chief executive officer of Philosophy and president of Bath & Body Works.
Crawford and Andrew Ferrer, who also is from General Atlantic’s Global retail and consumer team, will join the board as well. The deal is subject to customary regulatory review.
Too Faced was advised by Piper Jaffray, Intrepid Investment Bankers and Kirkland & Ellis. General Atlantic was advised by Financo Inc. and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.