From Everlane to Equinox: A Tracker of L Catterton M&A

From a multi-billion-dollar bid for Birkenstock to its stake in Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty lingerie venture, L Catterton has been making headlines with increasing frequency, 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 in connection with L Catterton’s reported interest in acquiring Birkenstock back in early 2021, 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 various regional arms – currently maintain or have historically maintained a stake. The nature of the stake (venture/minority or majority), the strategy (growth, flagship buyout, etc.), and status of the investment (current or historical) are noted.  

(Please note: This is not an exhaustive of the acquisitions and investments that exist in relation to L Catterton, and instead, focuses exclusively on fashion/related retail entities.)

Mar. 2023: APC (majority) – Atelier de Production et de Création (“A.P.C.”), a globally recognized French clothing brand, and L Catterton, a leading global consumer-focused investment firm, announced on March 2, 2023 that they signed binding agreements to form a strategic partnership to advance the brand’s international presence. L Catterton Europe will acquire a controlling interest in A.P.C., while founder Jean Touitou and Judith Touitou will continue to hold a significant minority.

Jul. 2021: Etro (majority stake) (Europe) – 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.

Feb. 2021: Birkenstock (majority stake) (flagship buyout, Europe, Asia) – Birkenstock has agreed to sell a majority stake to L Catterton, it confirmed on February 26, in a deal that 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. Sources say the transaction values the company at approximately 4 billion euros ($4.85 billion).

Feb. 2021: Savage x Fenty (venture/minority) (growth) – The lingerie company that Rihanna founded with TechStyle Fashion Group announced a $115 million Series B fundraising round led by L Catterton.

Sept. 2020: Everlane (venture/minority) (flagship buyout) – L Catterton agreed to invest $85 million in San Francisco-based clothing retailer Everlane.

Feb. 2019: ThirdLove (venture/minority) (growth) – Lingerie startup ThirdLove announced in early 2019 announces that it had landed $55 million in funding from investors, including L Catterton.

Nov. 2018: OWNDAYS (majority stake) – L Catterton partnered with Mitsui & Co. to invest in Japanese eyewear company OWNDAYS. – Investment Status: Historical. On August 12, 2022, L Catterton completed the sale of its stake in OWNDAYS to Lenskart.

Jul. 2018: SECOO (venture/minority) (Asia) – L Catterton Asia, the Asian unit of the largest and most global consumer-focused private equity firm in the world, and, China’s largest retailer, announced a strategic partnership with Secoo Holding Limited, Asia’s largest online integrated upscale products and services platform. Through the partnership, L Catterton Asia and JD will invest $175 million in Secoo. 

Jun. 2018: Honest Company (venture/minority) (flagship buyout) – 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.

Dec. 2017: Ganni (majority stake) (Europe) – 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.

Sept. 2017: Gentle Monster (majority stake) (Asia) – 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. – Investment Status: Historical.

Aug. 2016: Hanna Andersson (majority stake) (flagship buyout) – L Catterton acquired premium children’s apparel and lifestyle brand Hanna Andersson from private equity firm Sun Capital Partners.

Feb. 2015: Sweaty Betty (majority stake) (growth) – 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. – Investment Status: Historical. 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. 

Feb. 2015: ba&sh (majority stake) (Europe) – L Catterton acquired a 50 percent stake in affordable premium fashion brand ba&sh in 2015. – Investment Status: Historical.

Dec. 2014: Seafolly (majority stake) (Asia) – 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. 

Jul. 2014: John Hardy (majority stake) (flagship buyout) – L Catterton acquired jewelry company John Hardy for an undisclosed sum.

Apr. 2014: Giuseppe Zanotti (venture/minority) (Europe, Asia) – L Catterton acquired a 30 percent stake of Vicini S.P.A., owner of the Giuseppe Zanotti footwear brand in April 2014. 

Dec. 2013: 2XU (majority stake) (Asia) – 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.

Sept. 2010: SMCP (minority stake) (Europe) – Groupe SMCP, which controls the Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot brands, sold a 51 percent stake to L Catterton in September 2010. – Investment Status: Historical.

Aug. 2010: Pepe Jeans (venture/minority) (Asia) – After making an initial investment in 2010, L Catterton and Lebanese investment firm M1Group acquired a majority stake in Pepe Jeans in 2015. – Investment Status: Historical. L Catterton currently lists its majority stake (Europe) as historical; it maintains a minority/venture stake in the company.