The past year saw some big numbers on the financial front.
Most notable in 2017 were the number of deals on the mergers and acquisitions front that were over $1 billion.
Heading the list was Amazon’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods. Sycamore Partners’ $6.9 billion deal for Staples Inc., while far lower in dollar amount, wasn’t too shabby either. Walgreens Boots Alliance scrapped its deal to acquire Rite Aid when it failed to win antitrust approval, but then turned around and acquired 2,186 Rite Aid stores — about 250 fewer stores than initially planned — for $5.18 billion. And Verizon completed its $4.48 billion transaction for Yahoo.
In the fashion space, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton took over and consolidated control over Christian Dior in a $13.1 billion transaction for the shares it didn’t already own, while Coach Inc. acquired its handbag competitor Kate Spade & Co. for $2.4 billion. Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., their competitor in the handbag wars, looked to luxury footwear for growth and acquired Jimmy Choo for $1.2 billion.
And on the beauty side, CVC Capital Partners acquired PDC for $1.43 billion, while L’Oréal spent $1.3 billion to acquire three U.S. skin-care brands — CeraVe, AcneFree and Ambi — from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.
The beauty sector was the most active, and while not all deals were big in dollar amount, they were nevertheless significant because they were transformative deals. Two examples are Unilever’s purchase of Living Proof and Hourglass Cosmetics, which helped move the company’s prestige division into the hair and makeup categories, respectively.
Start-ups past the early stage level saw capital raises from venture capitalists extend past the Series B level that reached sizeable Series C and D funding rounds.
Commerce solutions firm Lightspeed completed a $166 million Series D round. Series C rounds were completed by shopping site Spring, $65 million, and Lesara, $40 million.
Initial public offerings weren’t exactly high on the list of fashion firms this year. The two that completed their IPOs were SMCP, which had a 1.7 billion valuation after its shares priced in October at 22 euros a share, and Stitch Fix, which has a market cap of $1.46 billion after raising $120 million in November when its shares first floated. And YogaWorks, a collective of 50 studios that also sell yoga apparel, completed its IPO in August, raising $40 million.