When 2023 started, a fight for funding was ramping up following a year of slowed activity.
Since then, a variety of new factors — such as rising interest rates and a spike in inflation, according to a GlobalData report — have only made the situation more complex for brands hoping to raise cash or find an exit.
During the first quarter, acquisitions of venture capital-backed companies fell to its lowest quarterly level in a decade, according to data from PitchBook. Overall, merger and acquisition activity reached about $582 billion globally during Q1, marking a 48% decline year over year, according to data from Dealogic.
However, deals were still signed across the direct-to-consumer industry over the past six months.
Some big sales during the first half of the year involved major players in the retail space. Mass retailer Walmart sold off two DTC brands in its portfolio — plus-size brand Eloquii and menswear company Bonobos — in a move that showed how its focus has turned more toward its core business. Meanwhile, beauty powerhouse L’Oréal acquired luxury brand Aesop for $2.5 billion.
For some, exits stemmed from woes such as bankruptcy. Lifestyle brand Scotch & Soda agreed to be acquired by Bluestar Alliance after it initially filed for bankruptcy in its home country of the Netherlands. Additionally, the owner of the makeup brand Morphe was acquired by lenders for about $690 million.
Other deals seemed like a long time coming, particularly in the case of Birchbox. The beauty box subscription service had a slew of customer and vendor complaints against it in the years after it was acquired by FemTec Health. Birchbox was acquired by Retention Brands in May, just a few weeks after Birchbox’s co-founder Katia Beauchamp demanded about $2 million from FemTec Health and its CEO Kimon Angelides, alleging they failed to pay the agreed upon sum in a July 2021 Share Purchase Agreement.
But who else got snatched up during the first half of 2023? Here’s a look at DTC brand acquisitions so far: