From the multi-billion-dollar bidding for Birkenstock to the latest funding round for Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty lingerie venture, L Catterton’s name has been making headlines with increasing frequency in recent weeks, making it one of the must-know names in the private equity space when it comes to fashion and retail more generally. Initially launched as Catterton in 1989, a leading consumer-focused private equity firm, the current version of the firm, L Catterton, got its start in 2016 when LVMH entered into the fold.
Together with Groupe Arnault, the family holding company of LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault, LVMH partnered with Catterton’s existing North American and Latin American private equity operations, and combined it with LVMH and Groupe Arnault’s existing European and Asian private equity and real estate operations to create what would become “the largest, diversified consumer-dedicated private equity firm in the world.”
“The firm now manages more than $22 billion of assets, according to its website,” Bloomberg stated last week in connection with L Catterton’s reported interest in acquiring Birkensock, and investments have included denim producer Pepe Jeans, workout gear brand Sweaty Betty, cosmetics firm Bliss and online retailer Everlane.” But its investment stakes go beyond that handful of companies and include a growing number of other well-known apparel, beauty, and wellness ventures in furtherance of its “objective to invest in and build consumer businesses that are rooted in emotional connectivity and thereby in sticky relationships that we can scale.”
With that in mind, here is a look at the timeline behind L Catterton’s quest to build “iconic and enduring consumer brands,” which has seen it make more than 200 investments in leading consumer brands across all segments of the consumer industry. The following are companies in which L Catterton – and its six platforms – currently maintains a stake …
July 2021: Etro (majority stake) – Etro announced on July 18 that it has entered into a binding agreement to partner with L Catterton. Under the terms of the agreement, L Catterton Europe will acquire a majority stake in the Company, while the Etro family will retain a significant minority. Etro Founder Gerolamo Etro will be appointed as Chairman of the Company.
February 2021: Birkenstock (majority stake) – Birkenstock has agreed to sell a majority stake to L Catterton, it confirmed on February 26, in a deal that Reuters says “brings the maker of comfy, blocky sandals in the orbit of French luxury powerhouse” LVMH. While “the family-owned German company did not disclose financial details of a deal it said would help it to grow in China and India as well as expand its online business,” per Reuters. Meanwhile, sources say the transaction values the company at approximately 4 billion euros ($4.85 billion).
February 2021: Savage x Fenty (minority stake) – Savage x Fenty, the lingerie company that Rihanna founded with TechStyle Fashion Group, announced a $115 million Series B fundraising round, led by L Catterton.
December 2020: Function of Beauty (minority stake) – Function of Beauty, a leading creator of customizable hair, skin, and body care products, announced that it has received a $150 million strategic minority investment from L Catterton.
September 2020: Everlane (majority stake) – L Catterton agreed to invest $85 million in San Francisco-based clothing retailer Everlane.
July 2019: Kopari (minority stake) – Kopari Beauty, the digitally native, coconut oil-centric beauty brand announced “a significant growth capital investment from L Catterton,” along with other investors, including Karlie Kloss, Shay Mitchell, Hilary Duff, Mila Kunis, and Ashton Kutcher.
February 2019: ThirdLove (minority stake) – Lingerie startup ThirdLove announced in early 2019 announces that it had landed $55 million in funding from investors, including L Catterton.
November 2018: Owndays (majority stake) – L Catterton partnered with Mitsui & Co. to invest in Japanese eyewear company Owndays. As of January 2021, L Catterton and Mitsui were reportedly looking to sell the company and net a $300 million payday.
June 2018: The Honest Company (minority stake) – The Honest Company announced a $200 million strategic minority investment from L Catterton, accelerate the Jessica Alba co-founded company’s “innovation initiatives as well as provide access to operational capabilities that will bolster its supply chain and global reach.
May 2018: FLFL (majority stake) – L Catterton made a “significant investment” in FLFL in exchange for an approximately 10 percent stake in FLFL, which is India’s largest integrated branded fashion company, through a mix of preferential allotment and secondary purchase of shares.
December 2017: Ganni (majority stake) – L Catterton announced “a definitive agreement to make a strategic investment in Ganni” in exchange for 51 percent ownership, with the funds said to fuel the Danish contemporary fashion label’s expansion in Europe, the U.S., and Asia.
September 2017: Gentle Monster (majority stake) – In September 2017, L Catterton revealed that it was leading a consortium of investors making an investment in IICombined Co. Ltd., which owns and operates the South Korean luxury eyewear brand Gentle Monster. The equity firm did not disclose the value of the investment.
July 2017: Equinox (minority stake)– In a release in July 2017, upscale fitness chain Equinox revealed that it had taken “a significant minority investment” from L Catterton.
June 2017: Il Makiage (minority stake) – IL MAKIAGE New York, a prestige professional makeup brand, announced that it received a $29 million growth capital investment from the Growth Fund of L Catterton.
March 2017: TULA (minority stake) – Skincare brand TULA announced that it received a significant growth capital investment from L Catterton.
March 2017: Rhone (minority stake) – Men’s activewear and lifestyle brand Rhone revealed that it received “a significant growth investment” from L Catterton.
February 2017: La Rapsodia (majority stake) – L Catterton invested in Argentina-based women’s apparel company Rapsodia.
August 2016: Hanna Andersson (majority stake) – L Catterton acquired premium children’s apparel and lifestyle brand Hanna Andersson from private equity firm Sun Capital Partners.
January 2016: Gill Mix Green (majority stake) – L Catterton acquired a controlling stake on Gill Mix Green (“GXG”), a leading Chinese menswear fashion group, which subsequently filed for a $300 million IPO in Hong Kong in May 2019.
December 2015: Bliss (majority stake) – In a December 2105 release, Steiner – the owner of skin wellness brand Bliss – and Catterton announced that they had “completed the transaction under which affiliates of Catterton will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Steiner Leisure for approximately $925 million, including the assumption of debt.”
February 2015: Sweaty Betty (majority stake) – Premium activewear brand Sweaty Betty announced that it received “a strategic growth investment from L Catterton,” which is largest shareholder with a more than 60 percent stake in the business. In an announcement on August 3, 2021, L Catterton revealed that it sold its stake in Sweaty Betty to Wolverine World Wide, Inc. Wolverine bought 100 percent of the company at a $410 million enterprise value, which includes debt.
February 2015: ba&sh (majority stake) – L Catterton acquired a 50 percent stake in affordable premium fashion brand ba&sh in 2015.
December 2014: Seafolly (majority stake) – L Catterton acquired a 70 percent stake in the company for a reported 70 million Australian dollars. As of July 2020, the private equity firm was slated to reacquire Seafolly after the Sydney-based swimwear company entered voluntary administration in June.
July 2014: John Hardy (majority stake) – L Catterton acquired jewelry company John Hardy for an undisclosed sum.
April 2014: Giuseppe Zanotti (minority stake) – L Catterton acquired a 30 percent stake of Vicini S.P.A., owner of the Giuseppe Zanotti footwear brand in April 2014.
December 2013: 2XU (majority stake) – Following an initial investment in the premium performance-focused active wear in 2013 in exchange for a 40 percent ownership stake, L Catterton bought out other 2XU shareholders, including co-founder Clyde Davenport, John Wylie’s investment vehicle Tanarra Capital and co-founders Aidan Clarke and Jamie Hunt, in 2019.
June 2011: Cover FX (minority stake) – Cover FX, a producer of dermatology-inspired cosmetics, announced a capital investment by L Catterton.
August 2010: Pepe Jeans (majority stake) – After making an initial investment in 2010, L Catterton and Lebanese investment firm M1Group acquired a majority stake in Pepe Jeans in 2015.
July 2009: StriVectin (majority stake) – L Catterton, through its holding company Chrysallis, acquired the StriVectin brand from Klein-Becker for an undisclosed sum.
(Please note: the following is not an exhaustive of the acquisitions and investments that exist in relation to L Catterton, and instead, focuses exclusively on fashion, as well as beauty and wellness, entities.)
*This article was initially published in February 2019 and has been updated accordingly.