Back a couple of months to the bankruptcy of Amyris and forward to now with an auction for JVN hair – winners for this particular brand are Windsong Global who paid $1.25 million. That is not a lot of money in beauty M&A terms. A bid of $3 million for Menolabs from Dr Reddy’s Laboratories took it. Rose Inc (Rosie Huntingdon-Whitely’s beauty brand) went to AA Investments for $2.5 million and THG paid $20 million for Biossance. Finally, Naomi Watts bought back her own holistic menopause brand, Stripes, for $500,000.

The venture capital arm of ELC has bought a stake in Melt Season, a Chinese luxury fragrance brand. Other Chinese fragrance brands to look out for are Documents and To Summer catering to Chinese identity and using renowned noses to create their scents. Documents opened a Shanghai stand alone store and has since launched on Net A Porter – it’s only a matter of time before we see the Chinese fragrance market make inroads in the UK.

Uoma Beauty is currently in a mess – what it looks like is that venture capitalists, MacArthur Companies Companies (and specifically their new beauty arm MacArthur Beauty), most prominently known for investments in property, have staged what might be called a hostile take-over to obtain the brand. According to founder, Sharon Chuter, she only knew her brand had been taken over after the event. Uoma garnered complaints from customers for unfulfilled orders over the summer and their social media accounts were not updated. It’s not often I hear of beauty brands being taken over this way – it’s disappointing particularly because Uoma is a brand with diversity at the very core and that’s something the beauty industry is actively looking to promote and support. I’d be extremely keen to know how MacArthur intends to nurture the heart of this brand, and by that I mean diversity.


Good news for Sephora fans – a new store is planned in the Trafford Centre, Manchester, for next year.

I can’t pretend to understand beauty financials in any way other than the most surface possible, but Unilever is in the news for several slightly conflicting reasons. They’ve sold off their ‘non-core’ offshoot, Elida beauty (amongst others, owners of Q Tips, Timotei and Tigi) to venture capitalists Yellow Wood. Elida’s USP was to disrupt classic brands and bring them from the past to the present to capture entirely new audiences. Over in NYC, Unilever has laid off 169 employees from two of their manufacturing plants (previously owned by Sundial brands and purchased by Unilever in 2017) with manufacturing of beauty and personal care being moved elsewhere. Redundancies seem to be across the board at Unilever just now – it’s not just NYC being affected by this but much closer to home, too. So, to then skip to Unilever ventures, the venture capital arm of Unilever – they’ve just backed a 4 million Australian dollar seed round for Australian hair care brand, Straand, known for its use of probiotics to improve scalp health. At the same time, Unilever has just bought the hair brand, K18 for an as yet undisclosed amount. Overall, Unilever has performed well this year but lay-offs from a financially healthy company never look good.

It would not be a BBN without a little class action action! This time, it’s Estee Lauder Companies facing a class action in the US Court for the Southern District of New York. The lawsuit covers ‘all persons and entities who bought or acquired Estee Lauder common stock between August 18th 2022 and May 2nd 2023’. The claim is that false and unrealistic statements regarding demand and inventory were made by Estee Lauder that lead investors to believe their share purchases were a solid investment. It all centres around a significant and unexpected share value drop on May 2nd which led to a cut in the fiscal year outlook. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

Shiseido has bought skin care brand Dr Dennis Gross, despite posting its biggest profit drop in 16 years. It’s interesting to note that one of the reasons that Shiseido has offered is that Chinese interest in Japanese brand has not been as high as expected. Japan released (reportedly safe) treated radioactive water into the Pacific in August which infuriated the Chinese because they imported so much seafood from Japan which has now been drastically cut. Bigger picture is that China is not looking favourably at Japan which has affected sales and imports in all areas. That said, Shiseido is looking to the Indian market for its big bucks (along with many other brands) – it’s just opened a NARS store and a Shiseido store there. Shiseido has also just launched its own capital fund – Shiseido Long Term Investments For The Future looking to find early stage potential amongst emerging brands.


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