LONDON — It’s only February and the year is already shaping up to be a landmark one for Victoria Beckham, with a second Estée Lauder collection, a royal honor at Buckingham Palace and a possible new minority investor in Victoria Beckham Ltd.
According to industry sources, Beckham and her business partner Simon Fuller have been searching for a minority investor since last year with an eye to building out the brand’s retail network internationally.
This story first appeared in the February 9, 2017 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The top suitor looks to be L Catterton, which is said to be conducting due diligence on Beckham’s London-based company. Spokespeople for L Catterton and Victoria Beckham declined to comment, as did Beckham herself when asked.
Investment sources said a book on the company had been circulating since last year, with Beckham and Fuller meeting a variety of potential candidates.
L Catterton, which was formed in 2016 after LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s investment arm L Capital joined with the private equity firm Catterton, would have the financial muscle — and the patience — to extend Beckham’s retail network.
L Catterton has $15 billion under management, investments in more than 80 companies, and is looking to plow its funds into areas of the market that are expanding. Beckham has just two standalone stores, on Dover Street in London and at the Landmark mall in Hong Kong, the latter of which is operated by Joyce Group.
Beckham’s three main business categories are ready-to-wear, eyewear and accessories, and sources said eyewear is a major business driver. The designer originally launched eyewear in 2009 in partnership with British brand Cutler and Gross, and now works with them, a variety of Italian factories and the lens producer Zeiss on the collection.
According to the latest accounts filed at Companies House, the official register of U.K. businesses, turnover at Victoria Beckham Ltd. climbed 7.1 percent to 36.5 million pounds, or $55.8 million, on a continuing operations basis, in fiscal 2015.
Losses widened to 4.6 million pounds, or $7.03 million, on a continuing operations basis. The company noted in the annual accounts that losses were in line with budgets and reflected the investment in capacity and expansion initiatives as the brand strives to grow and become an international lifestyle proposition.
The fashion company is ultimately owned by Beckham Brand Holdings, which is controlled by Victoria and David Beckham, and Fuller’s entertainment and content company XIX Management U.K. Ltd.
The 2015 directors’ report for Beckham Brand Holdings said its plan is to “further grow” the Victoria Beckham fashion business by expanding the “depth and breadth” of the wholesale business and expand the retail offering as well.
Last March, Beckham told WWD at the opening of the Hong Kong store that she was enjoying running an independent business and had no immediate plans to seek an investor.
“I think that at one point, we would certainly look into somebody investing maybe…Obviously if we want to expand and grow significantly, then that could be the next stage,” Beckham said. “You have to be very, very careful and you have to partner with the right people. So that’s a huge, huge decision and not a decision that one would make overnight. So let’s see what happens in the future.”
In the summer of 2015, rumors were rife that LVMH was set to buy Beckham’s businesses, but the French company denied them, and Beckham said her brand was not for sale. Sources said LVMH looked at Victoria Beckham Ltd. and passed on the investment opportunity.
According to the 2016 “Sunday Times” Rich List, the Beckhams are one of Britain’s wealthiest couples, with a joint net worth of 280 million pounds, or $381 million.
All figures have been converted at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.
As reported in December, Victoria Beckham has been named an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, or OBE, a royal honor that recognizes her contributions to the fashion industry. The honors are given out by members of the royal family during individual ceremonies at Buckingham Palace in the first half of the year.