EBay announced that it entered into an agreement to acquire TCGplayer, a technology platform for the collectibles industry. The total value of the deal is around $295 million, and it is expected to close the first quarter of 2023. TCGplayer will continue to operate independently following the acquisition. The acquisition will provide eBay with capabilities like order fulfillment and cart optimization.
Trading cards as a category has been growing at eBay, hitting $2 billion in transactions during the first half of 2021.
The deal would automatically place Blue Nile, which is owned by Bain Capital and made half a billion dollars in sales in 2021, at the top of Signet’s luxury banners and will accelerate its expansion of bridal offerings and grow what it calls its “accessible luxury” portfolio. Signet also pointed to Blue Nile’s “attractive customer demographic that is younger, more affluent, and ethnically diverse which will broaden our customer acquisition funnel.”
The deal is expected to close in the third quarter, and Signet expects to begin reaping financial benefits from the acquisition next year. Blue Nile had previously announced plans to go public through a SPAC deal.
Aug. 5, 2022
Amazon to acquire cleaning robotics company iRobot
The news showed that Amazon was looking to expand its reach into the homes of consumers, adding iRobot’s mapping and cleaning technology to its list of home gadgets, which includes Blink security devices and the Alexa assistant.
Amazon’s planned deal still needs to go through regulatory approval, but if approved, will further the company’s technological capabilities.
Aug. 5, 2022
Walmart buys omnichannel software firm Volt Systems
As it continues beefing up its omnichannel capabilities, Walmart said in August it is acquiring Volt Systems for an undisclosed amount. The software company positions itself as a solution for omnichannel management, with its products focusing on vendor management and product tracking, among other areas.
In its release announcing the deal, Walmart said that Volt “provides suppliers with enhanced on-demand visibility into merchandising resources,” and the tech company’s application “delivers current store-level data, actionable analytics, and shelf intelligence for suppliers to plan, forecast, and optimize product assortment.” With the acquisition, Walmart will take on Volt System’s talent, technology and customer agreements
June 29, 2022
Walmart acquires Memomi
Walmart announced in late June that it would acquire augmented reality optical tech firm Memomi for an undisclosed sum. Memomi employees will become part of the Walmart Global Tech organization. With this acquisition, the retail giant aims to further its strategy of using technology to “improve engagement, health equity and outcomes.”
Memomi has provided digital tech measurement tools at Walmart and Sam’s Club locations since 2019.
June 27, 2022
Foot Locker sells Eastbay team sales unit to BSN Sports
Foot Locker announced in June that it had sold the team sales unit of its Eastbay brand to BSN Sports, a division of Bain Capital-owned Varsity Brands. The team sales business, which dates back to 1980, had a sales team of more than 100 that engaged with thousands of high school coaches and athletic directors. It became part of Foot Locker when the footwear retailer bought Eastbay in 1997. At the time of the sale, it accounted for less than 1% of Foot Locker’s yearly sales.
The divestiture comes as Foot Locker continues merging its Champs Sports and Eastbay brands and operations. Later this year, Eastbay’s online presence will be folded into Champs’ website.
June 22, 2022
EBay acquires NFT marketplace KnownOrigin
EBay announced on June 22 that it acquired non-fungible token marketplace KnownOrigin, according to a company announcement. The deal also closed that day, but further terms were not disclosed.
KnownOrigin gives artists and collectors a space to create, buy and resell NFTs through blockchain-supported transactions.
The acquisition comes about a year after eBay allowed the buying and selling of NFTs on its own platform. The company expects that it will usher in “a new era of digital collecting to the world’s top destination for collectibles.”
June 16, 2022
Fleet Feet acquires Marathon Sports
Running shoe store franchise Fleet Feet struck a deal to acquire the New England-based running shoe retailer Marathon Sports in June for an undisclosed amount. The deal also includes Marthon’s soundRunner and Runner’s Alley brands, as well as its e-commerce business. The parties expect the deal to close in July.
Under the deal, Marathon Sports will operate as a separate but wholly owned entity, and it will keep its current leadership and Massachusetts headquarters.
Marathon Sports’ owners Colin and Penny Peddie plan to retire at the same time as the deal completion. With the retirement, Ben Cooke, who most recently served as vice president of business development and flagship retail for Fleet Feet and has held management roles at Princeton Running Company and Running Specialty Group, will take over as president of Marathon Sports.
June 16, 2022
Gap Inc. takes equity stake in Allyson Felix’s Saysh
Athleta, in a deal brokered by Gap Inc.’s Strategic Growth Office, has joined specialist consumer fund IRIS in leading an $8 million series A funding round into Saysh. As part of the investment, Gap Inc. has acquired an equity stake in Saysh, and Athleta will showcase the brand’s footwear on Athleta.com.
Athleta, now Gap Inc.’s fastest-growing brand, signed track-and-field star Allyson Felix as its first sponsored athlete in 2019. The tie-up surprised many observers used to athletes of her caliber opting for powerhouses like Nike, her former sponsor, and burnished Athleta’s activewear and female-empowerment bona fides.
Last year Felix, who is known for her activism around the needs of women and mothers, founded Saysh with her brother Wes Felix. Their lifestyle and apparel brand focuses on designs that meet the unique needs of female anatomy – something the likes of Under Armour and Puma are also scrambling to develop.
June 13, 2022
Zalando acquires majority stake in Highsnobiety
German fashion e-retailer Zalando has taken a majority stake in streetwear-focused news and cultural media site Highsnobiety, whose founder and CEO, David Fischer, will hold on to a minority stake. The companies are not disclosing the terms, according to a Zalando press release.
Highsnobiety will “retain its editorial independence, with creative agency work remaining fully autonomous and management structure unchanged,” per the release. The influential site already offers a curated assortment of merchandise, but this tie-up will enable it “to leverage Zalando’s expertise and resources to fuel its own e-commerce capabilities.”
Meanwhile, Zalando has obtained a lot of street cred, and Highsnobiety will be obligated to help the e-retailer with both content and strategy, per the release.
June 10, 2022
Blue Nile SPAC deal with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II
DTC diamond company Blue Nile in June announced it would re-enter the public markets through a deal with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II, a special purpose acquisition company.
The deal implies an enterprise value of approximately $683 million for Blue Nile, the company said in its announcement. The deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter, will result in the combined company listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange.
The companies expect the transaction to produce $450 million in capital before expenses, including $50 million of new preferred capital from Mudrick Capital and an $80 million PIPE from Bain Capital Private Equity, Bow Street and Adama Partners.
Not long after, Walmart disclosed that it now owns a stake in Symbotic that amounts to 11.1% of the company’s total common stock and 4.3% of its voting power as of June 7.
The retailer has said that Symbotic’s system would increase its capacity to receive and ship products to stores, as well as increase its inventory accuracy. At a conference earlier this year, Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs suggested Symbotic’s technology could help reduce time-consuming, labor-intensive work like unloading trucks.
June 2, 2022
Pinterest to acquire AI shopping platform The Yes
Pinterest announced the completion of its acquisition of The Yes on June 10. The social image sharing platform said the acquisition “will help accelerate Pinterest’s vision for it to be the home of taste-driven shopping,” per a press release.
Pinterest in June announced an agreement to acquire The Yes, an AI-powered shopping platform for fashion, according to a press release. The news from Pinterest builds on the list of social shopping features it has implemented in order to become a shopping destination.
The Yes was founded by CEO Julie Bornstein in 2018. Bornstein was previously the chief operating officer of fashion retailer Stitch Fix, as well as the chief marketing and digital officer for Sephora.
Although The Yes was made for fashion, its brand relationships and shopping expertise could be used for other categories Pinterest focuses on, including home, beauty and food, the companies said.
When the deal closes, The Yes app and website will be shut down to focus on integrating the technology into Pinterest’s platform.
June 1, 2022
Inclusive apparel retailer Dia & Co. expands into luxury with 11 Honoré acquisition
Luxury plus retailer 11 Honoré, which previously attracted investment from Nordstrom, among others, was snapped up by inclusive apparel retailer Dia & Co. for an undisclosed amount. The move brings together two entities dedicated to apparel sales and styling services for underserved plus customers, and adds luxury to Dia’s portfolio.
The 11 Honoré Collection, a private label capsule, will be available on Dia & Co. Otherwise, 11 Honoré, which was founded in 2017, two years after Dia & Co., will continue as its own luxury e-commerce destination until it’s fully integrated into dia.com in coming months. Brands within the 11 Honoré portfolio include Diane Von Furstenberg, Carolina Hererra, Good American and Tanya Taylor.
May 31, 2022
GoGlobal’s Janie & Jack acquires Italian children’s brand Brums Milano
Brand strategy firm GoGlobal, which last year bought upscale children’s apparel brand Janie & Jack from Gap Inc., is furthering its ambitions in the space with the addition of premium Italian brand Brums Milano, its first acquisition in Europe. Brums Milano was founded in 1951 and designs, markets and distributes children's apparel and accessories under the Brums and MEK banners, according to a GoGlobal press release. The purchase amount was not disclosed.
The children’s apparel label boasts more than 150 owned and franchise stores in Italy and robust e-commerce. It’s also sold at Milan-based department store La Rinascente and at 300 independent third-party retailers, per the release.
While the brand will stay based in the Milan area and initially remain focused on its Italian customer base, some things will change. GoGlobal will invest in its digital capabilities, including AI and predictive analytics, for example. And it will be featured as a portfolio brand on the Janie & Jack platform. The tie-up will allow the company to leverage back office synergies for technology, e-commerce, digital marketing, sourcing, and raw material collaboration for the two companies, according to GoGlobal.
May 31, 2022
WHP Global takes controlling stake in Isaac Mizrahi
In May, WHP Global announced a deal to buy a controlling stake (70%) in fashion brand Isaac Mizrahi from Xcel Brands.
The deal was valued at $68 million, including $46.2 million in cash. Under the agreement, Xcel will retain a 30% minority stake in Isaac Mizrahi and will manage its QVC business.
Founded in 1987 by the designer of the same name, the brand has generated more than $1 billion in sales since launching and has been worn by everyone from Michelle Obama to Rihanna to Kate Moss. Isaac Mizrahi will continue to serve as chief design officer after the deal.
Robert D’Loren, Xcel chairman and CEO, said the deal was the first time the company has monetized one of its brands and leaves the company debt free, with $17 million in cash to help finance strategic initiatives.
For WHP, the deal adds to its stable of acquired fashion brands, which include Anne Klein, Joseph Abboud, Joe’s Jeans and William Rast. The company also owns the Toys R Us brand property, among others.
May 26, 2022
GoDigital Media Group buys EMS and Bob’s Stores
GoDigital Media Group took on 900 new employees and 42 stores when it acquired outdoor retailer and brand Eastern Mountain Sports, as well as apparel and footwear retailer Bob’s Stores from Frasers Group in May for an undisclosed amount.
Prior to the acquisition, GoDigital was mainly focused on the media world, its holdings including music publishers and networks, among other businesses.
“The acquisition of EMS and Bob’s is a major step in our strategy to generate synergy between content, community, and commerce,” GoDigital CEO Jason Peterson said in a press release. “This transaction also presents a great opportunity to apply our prowess in product development, supply chain, and e-commerce across all of our brands.”
The teams of both acquired businesses will stay on at GoDigital
May 25, 2022
Arklyz acquires Shoe City
Arklyz, owner of The Athlete’s Foot, announced in late May that the company is acquiring Baltimore-based sneaker and streetwear retailer Shoe City.
The acquisition will add 40 store locations, including in the DMV region, which encompasses Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Shoe City’s e-commerce presence will “help jumpstart” The Athlete’s Foot’s omnichannel strategy, according to the companies.
May 17, 2022
David’s Bridal acquires Anomalie
David’s Bridal announced in mid-May that it acquired the assets of custom wedding dress company Anomalie. The startup’s co-founder and CEO, Leslie Voorhees Means, joined David’s Bridal to “lead the implementation of new strategic initiatives” as part of the deal. The terms of the acquisition were not released.
Anomalie will not operate as a stand-alone company. Rather, its assets, team and technology will be integrated into David’s Bridal digital offerings. Additionally, under David’s Bridal, Anomalie will no longer create custom dresses.
May 3, 2022
David’s Bridal acquires Forever Bride
David’s Bridal on May 3 said that it acquired the assets of online wedding resource Forever Bride, according to a company announcement. The community-based platform, which launched in 2010, connects brides with a curated list of wedding businesses.
"Forever Bride is unlike any other platform we have seen in our industry, and we believe this mobile-friendly, content-driven, and community-focused model is exactly where wedding planning is going," Jim Marcum, David’s Bridal's CEO, said in a statement.. "Forever Bride means our brides will have unmatched access to the most premier local vendors while being able to put some fun back into the planning process."
Forever Bride’s CEO and co-founder, Ashley Hawks, will join David’s Bridal and will lead strategic partnerships. Hawks will report to Chief Marketing and IT Officer Kelly Cook.
May 2, 2022
G-III acquisition of Karl Lagerfeld
G-III in June announced it completed its acquisition of Karl Lagerfeld. The company purchased the remaining stake from a group of investors and the transaction was funded in cash. The deal makes Karl Lagerfeld a wholly owned subsidiary of G-III.
G-III Apparel Group on May 2 said it will take full ownership of the Karl Lagerfeld brand by acquiring the remaining 81% interest for 200 million euros in cash ($210 million).
In taking full ownership of the label, G-III knows exactly what it’s in for. In 2015 the company entered into a joint venture that gave it the rights to Lagerfeld’s apparel and accessories in the North America market, and the following year it bought a 19% minority stake.
The company’s near-term plan for the brand is, in a word, expansion — in digital, retail, wholesale, geography, categories and licensing. Executives said they expect the acquisition to be moderately accretive this year and more so in future years. The business could reach annual net revenue in sales to end consumers of between $1 billion and $2 billion-plus, the company also said.
April 29, 2022
Wella Company’s acquisition of Briogeo
Wella Company, which owns beauty brands such as Clairol, OPI and Wella Professionals, on April 29 acquired Black-owned hair care brand Briogeo for an undisclosed sum. Nancy Twine, founder and CEO of Briogeo, created the brand to focus on natural hair care for all hair types and textures.
"Acquiring Briogeo marks Wella Company's first portfolio expansion as an independent entity,” Wella Company CEO Annie-Young Scrivner said in a statement. “Briogeo's high-growth, eco-ethical and natural hair care products complement our existing hair portfolio and sustainable offerings and will fuel our growth momentum in the hair category, which is now the fastest growing segment in beauty."
Briogeo is looking to expand its reach, as Twine said the acquisition will help grow the brand globally and into new delivery channels.
April 25, 2022
Designer Brands acquisition of Shoes.com domain
DSW owner Designer Brands acquired the domain and intellectual property of Shoes.com from an undisclosed buyer for an undisclosed amount.
The website has traded hands at least five times over the past two decades. Walmart controlled the domain for a few years until recently, having combined it with its ShoeBuy business. In 2020, Walmart sold Shoes.com to private equity firm CriticalPoint Capital, which made it part of its running-focused specialty retail group, which included the chain JackRabbit.
The sale to Designer Brands only included intellectual property, no operating assets. A spokesperson for DSW told Retail Dive, “The high-traffic Shoes.com domain furthers Designer Brands’ long-range strategy to expand its footprint digitally and strategically position and distribute Designer Brands’ Owned Brands as well as shoes from top National Brand partners.”
Visitors to shoes.com are now directed to DSW’s online store.
April 25, 2022
Helen of Troy’s acquisition of Curlsmith
Helen of Troy, which owns brands including Hydro Flask, Drybar and Hot Tools, on April 25 announced one of its subsidiaries had acquired Curlsmith parent company Recipe Products for $150 million in cash. With the acquisition, Curlsmith became the most profitable brand in Helen of Troy’s portfolio, the company said in a press release.
“We believe Curlsmith is an excellent fit with Helen of Troy, both strategically and financially,” CEO Julien Mininberg said in a statement. “This transaction advances Helen of Troy’s strategy to invest in businesses that can accelerate profitable growth in categories where we can add value and leverage our scalable operating platform.”
Mininberg added that 60% of U.S. consumers have curly or textured hair, and prestige products that serve those needs are growing faster than non-textured hair products. Helen of Troy expects Curlsmith to complement its Drybar, Revlon and Hot Tools brands in particular.
“The business more than doubled in size between calendar years 2020 and 2021 and we expect it to continue to grow at a healthy double-digit rate,” Mininberg said of Curlsmith.
April 25, 2022
ThirdLove acquisition of Kit Undergarments
ThirdLove made its first acquisition in April, bringing on “cult favorite intimates brand” Kit Undergarments. Founded by celebrity stylists Jamie Mizrahi and Simone Harouche, Kit Undergarments is meant to help ThirdLove reach a younger demographic — and it also comes at a lower price point than ThirdLove’s standard range.
“We wanted to create a sub-brand that targets a younger demographic,” Heidi Zak, co-founder and CEO of ThirdLove, said in a statement. “Rather than leveraging our team’s time and effort on creating a new brand from scratch, our solution was to find an incredible existing brand we could scale through the backing of ThirdLove.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Kit Undergarments will be sold on ThirdLove’s website as “Kit Undergarments for ThirdLove,” but will not be available in ThirdLove stores at the moment.
April 5, 2022
Farfetch’s $200 million investment in Neiman Marcus
Farfetch in April agreed to make a minority common equity investment of up to $200 million in Neiman Marcus, a deal that closed at the end of May.
Farfetch is getting a fair amount of business out of this deal as both Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman have agreed to use its platform services, with the Bergdorf website and app getting overhauled by Farfetch Platform Solutions. Both the namesake department store and its New York-centric sibling will join Farfetch’s e-commerce marketplace as well.
For Neiman Marcus Group, the tie-up indicates relevance in the luxury space, following its bankruptcy two years ago, among other travails, according to GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders.
“Farfetch’s $200 million investment in Neiman Marcus is a vote of confidence by a new-generation luxury player in a more traditional business,” Saunders said.
March 25, 2022
Victoria’s Secret’s minority stake in Frankies Bikinis
Victoria’s Secret on March 25 said it would drop $18 million on a minority stake in California swimwear brand Frankies Bikinis, making progress on two goals.
One is rectifying the mistake it made a few years ago by exiting the swimwear category, a move that hurt sales and has sent the lingerie retailer scrambling back. The other is amplifying its recent switch away from sexualized marketing toward female empowerment.
"Our investment in Frankies Bikinis is a continuation of our efforts to expand partnerships with culturally relevant brands founded by women entrepreneurs," Victoria's Secret CEO Martin Waters said in a statement.
The decade-old Frankies sells directly to customers online as well as through various retail partners, including Victoria’s Secret. The partnership will enable the brand “to grow and extend into new categories and attract new customers in the direct-to-consumer channel," Waters also said.
March 24, 2022
Centric Brands’ acquisition of Daytona Apparel Group’s hosiery division
Centric Brands, which has a license portfolio of more than 100 brands and also owns and operates several others, on March 24 closed on a deal to acquire the hosiery division of Daytona Apparel Group.
Centric is assuming license agreements including Stanley, Free Country, Real Tree and Umbro, according to an April 27 press release. A number of employees from Daytona’s hosiery team will join Centric and report to Abe Dweck, Centric’s executive vice president of accessories.
The business will be merged into Centric’s accessories division, led by Jarrod Kahn, group president of accessories, the company also said. Brands in that division at Centric include Coach, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, All Saints, Frye, Timberland, Hunter and Jessica Simpson.
March 24, 2022
L’Occitane acquisition of Grown Alchemist
L’Occitane in late March announced it acquired a majority stake in Australian skincare brand Grown Alchemist, which emphasizes botanical skincare formulas and anti-aging technology. Grown Alchemist was founded in 2008 by Jeremy and Keston Muijs, and its product line also includes nutricosmetics and body and haircare products, according to a company press release.
The acquisition will help L’Occitane in its quest to appeal to more Gen Z and millennial customers and become “a truly global, multi-brand group.” L’Occitane last year acquired Sol de Janeiro, a prestige body care brand.
Grown Alchemist’s founders will retain a share in the company and L’Occitane Group “will support and share its expertise with Grown Alchemist while offering the co-founders the autonomy to lead and drive the business.” Grown Alchemist has plans to expand its omnichannel presence, having already opened one flagship store in Melbourne in 2020.
“With a unique and inspiring brand story and international fan base, Grown Alchemist is poised for international scalability and rapid growth,” Vice Chairman and CEO of the L’Occitane Group, André Hoffmann, said in a statement.
March 15, 2022
Vestiaire Collective’s Tradesy takeover
With the United States already representing its largest market, Vestiaire Collective is expanding here further with its acquisition of rival Tradesy for an undisclosed amount.
Both sites were founded in 2009 by women. Vestiaire founder Fanny Moizant will stay on as the company's president and Maximilian Bittner will stay as chief executive, while Tradesy founder and CEO Tracy DiNunzio will become CEO of the combined U.S. operations.
In a statement, Bittner said the deal is a confirmation of "Vestiaire Collective's ambition to be a truly global player, promoting circularity in Europe, the U.S. and Asia-Pacific." Moizant said the companies' leadership is "particularly enthusiastic about the scale we are reaching together and the associated benefits in the highly attractive U.S. market."
The combined company will have 23 million members, a catalog of 5 million items and gross merchandise value exceeding $1 billion, according to a press release.
Feb. 24, 2022
Authentic Brands’ stake in David Beckham’s brand
After initial reports of an investment, Authentic Brands Group struck a deal with David Beckham to co-own and co-manage the soccer icon's brand. As part of the agreement, Beckham has also taken an undisclosed stake in the brand specialist. Authentic Brand's new European headquarters in London will house the David Beckham brand team, the company said.
The deal also makes Authentic Brands the largest shareholder in Studio 99, a production studio founded by Beckham.
Authentic Brands noted in a press release about the deal that Beckham's digital presence is "considered one of the most influential in the world," with a following of 138 million, which is nearly a third of Authentic Brands’ total following across its entire portfolio post-deal.
Bloomberg previously reported that Authentic Brands agreed to pay $269 million for a 55% stake in Beckham's brand management company DB Ventures.
The investment will help further the brand’s direct-to-consumer channels and drive growth with Kimberly-Clark’s retail partners, said Russ Torres, group president of Kimberly-Clark’s North American consumer business.
Kimberly-Clark made an initial minority investment in Thinx in 2019.
Feb. 18, 2022
Fanatics’ acquisition of Mitchell & Ness
Sports merchandise retailer Fanatics in February announced it acquired lifestyle brand Mitchell & Ness from Juggernaut Capital Partners for an undisclosed amount. Jay-Z, Maverick Carter, Meek Mill, Lil Baby, the D'Amelio family and others also participated in the acquisition.
The strategic investment group, made up of "some of the most recognized names in sports, entertainment and culture," will own 25% of the company, according to details emailed to Retail Dive.
Mitchell & Ness will operate as a separate entity under the Fanatics Commerce division, according to the announcement. Fanatics plans to grow the company's distribution network by adding Mitchell & Ness products to new retailers.
Jan. 28, 2022
Farfetch acquisition of Violet Grey
Luxury marketplace Farfetch announced it would acquire beauty retailer Violet Grey prior to its formal launch into the category in 2022.
Cassandra Grey, founder of Violet Grey, will become a beauty adviser for Farfetch and co-founder of NGG Beauty, where she will incubate brands. She will also chair Violet Grey and provide strategic and creative direction. Farfetch Vice President of Operations Niten Kapadia will become Violet Grey’s managing director.
Violet Grey is known for its “Violet code” where it tests beauty products with its community of makeup artists, estheticians, dermatologists, hairstylists and influencers to curate offerings.
Jan. 25, 2022
Victoria’s Secret’s sale of a minority stake
After losing sales and mindshare in an environment that had grown unfavorable to its sexualized marketing, Victoria’s Secret has worked hard to revamp its image and overhaul its merchandise. Now it’s working on reigniting its global sales. On Jan. 25, the brand announced it will form a joint venture with a longtime supplier, Regina Miracle. Subject to regulatory approval, the Hong Kong-based lingerie maker will pay $45 million for a 49% stake and run the brand’s Chinese stores and website.
The deal makes sense, according to Jane Hali & Associates analysts. "This seems to be a wise solution to distribution in China," she said by email. "Companies are successful when they are consumer-centric and know their customers' wants and needs. [Victoria's Secret] was in China but it was unsuccessful under their management.”
Jan. 19, 2022
Aerosoles’ acquisition by American Exchange Group
Women’s footwear brand Aerosoles inked a deal to sell itself to American Exchange Group, which owns brands along with doing design, manufacturing and wholesale work for outside accessories brands. American Exchange signalled it would keep Aerosoles as a separate operating division.
Formed in 1987, out of a division of Kenneth Cole, Aerosoles was profitable for most of its life before running into mall retrenchment and rising competition. After putting itself on the market, the brand filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and moved immediately to close most of its physical stores. Today the brand sells through its digital and wholesale channels, the latter of which includes partnerships with Nordstrom, Macy’s, Zappos and other retailers.
Jan. 18, 2022
Digital Brands’ acquisition of Sundry
As it looks to scale its customer base and bolt more brands to its platform, Digital Brands picked up the women’s apparel brand Sundry for $34 million in cash and $7.5 million in stock. Digital Brands’ marketing chief, Laura Dowling, said Sundry’s large direct-to-consumer reach would significantly accelerate growth in its customer base, allowing it to cross-sell its other brands to Sundry customers.
Founded in 2011 by Matthieu Leblan as a coastal brand with French inspiration, Sundry is profitable and made $18.2 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2021, up 37.9% from the year-ago period.
Jan. 18, 2022
LVMH Luxury Ventures’ stake in Aimé Leon Dore
Streetwear’s grip on upscale fashion seems to only grow tighter. LVMH Luxury Ventures – the investment arm that French luxury conglomerate LVMH established a few years ago to “support desirable, high potential brands, with clear identities and built to address clients’ desires today and into the future” – has taken a minority stake in New York City’s Aimé Leon Dore.
A spokesperson for the brand declined to disclose the amount. But LVMH Luxury Ventures tends to make equity investments of between 2 million euros ($2.3 million at press time) and 15 million euros in companies with revenue between 3 million euros and 30 million euros, seeking stakes of 5% to 25%.
"LVMH's vast network of global leaders across the industry and its rich history in growing exceptional storied brands offers a truly unique partnership opportunity to fuel the next chapter of growth for Aimé Leon Dore," said fashion designer Teddy Santis, who founded the brand in 2014.
Jan. 7, 2022
Mattress Firm IPO
Mattress Firm in early January filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering. Mattress Firm will list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "MFRM."
The filing came about four months after the retailer confidentially filed papers to go public. The draft document, filed in September 2021, came just three years after Mattress Firm filed for bankruptcy, which resulted in the closing of around 700 stores. Before that, the retailer was acquired for $3.8 billion in 2016 by private equity firm Steinhoff International Holdings, which today maintains about 50% ownership over the company.
Mattress Firm appears to be benefiting from the increased demand the broader home category has experienced since the pandemic began. In the first nine months of 2021, the retailer reported its net revenue increased 41% in local currency, while its comps increased 46.2% from the year-ago period.
Dec. 31, 2021
ODP sale of CompuCom
In 2017, Office Depot bought the business-to-business IT services company CompuCom for about $1 billion as it looked to diversify beyond traditional office supply services. Roughly four years later, the company (under a new name, ODP Corp.) agreed to sell CompuCom to a private equity firm in a deal valued at $305 million.
The deal comes after CompuCom’s struggles in the pandemic, with sales down in the work-from-home era. It also comes as ODP plans a major restructuring, with its retail business — consisting of Office Depot and OfficeMax — set to spin off from its B2B services segment. ODP’s chief financial officer framed the CompuCom sale as an “important step in continuing to align our business model and resources towards our core strategy.”
The acquisition enhances The Container Store’s custom closet offering, and it says it plans to offer more customization options around the home, like home offices, pantries, laundry rooms, garages and closets.
To help with the integration, Closet Works’ previous co-owner and president Tom Happ joined The Container Store as Closet Works president.
Dec. 23, 2021
Blackstone go-public SPAC merger
Outdoor griddle maker Blackstone is the latest brand to jump into the stock market via a SPAC, agreeing to a takeover by blank-check company Ackrell SPAC Partners I Co., according to a Dec. 23 press release. As is typical for a SPAC-based IPO, Blackstone’s financial disclosures at press time were minimal, compared to the level required by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the leadup to a more traditional initial public offering. In its own filing, Ackrell limits its discussion of Blackstone’s lucrativeness to its ”proven track record of profitable growth.”
Blackstone, which says it enjoys 80% share in a corner of the outdoor cooking market it says it created, estimates it will have notched over $450 million in revenue this year, and expects that to top $600 million next year. The company also said it achieved a 72% net revenue compound annual growth rate from 2016 through 2020.
Dec. 23, 2021
Crocs acquisition of Heydude
Crocs announced in mid-February 2022 that it closed its transaction with Heydude. In a press release, the company said it expected the casual footwear brand to add $620 million to $670 million in revenue over the year following the completion of the deal.
Crocs took on the casual footwear brand Heydude for $2.5 billion, a price that includes about $2 billion cash as well as $450 million in Crocs shares issued to Heydude founder and CEO Alessandro Rosano.
Once the deal closes, Rosano is set to lead product development at Heydude as strategic adviser and creative director. Rick Blackshaw, a longtime footwear executive who most recently served as CEO of CCM Hockey, is set to become brand president of Heydude.
Crocs said that the acquisition would greatly expand its total addressable market, to more than $160 billion, by opening the casual shoe category up. Heydude also adds more than half a billion dollars in revenue as well as profits to Crocs’ earnings in the near term. Heydude, meanwhile, gets access to Crocs’ marketing and distribution infrastructure as well as its wholesale relationships.
Alpargatas will invest $200 million in primary capital, followed by an acquisition of about $275 million of Rothy’s shares from current shareholders. The agreement allows Alpargatas the option to obtain additional shares between the first and fourth anniversary of the transaction.
“This partnership with Alpargatas marks the beginning of our next chapter of growth, and reaffirms the strength of our business model and momentum in the marketplace,” Rothy’s co-founder Stephen Hawthornthwaite said in a statement. “With Alpargatas’ financial support, scale and expertise, we look forward to rapidly expanding in global markets, building our physical retail presence, advancing product development and accelerating our goal to reach circular production by 2023.”
Dec. 20, 2021
Supergoop majority stake sale to Blackstone
Investment firm Blackstone announced that funds managed by Blackstone Growth have agreed to acquire a majority stake in SPF-focused beauty brand Supergoop.
Supergoop founder Holly Thaggard launched the brand in 2005 with the goal of eliminating skin cancer by creating sunscreen products consumers wanted to wear. Thaggard will continue to hold a “significant” stake in the company, along with Supergoop CEO Amanda Baldwin and the current senior management team, according to Blackstone’s announcement.
The investment, Supergoop said, will help it launch new products and expand internationally.
Dec. 14, 2021
Food52 acquisition of Schoolhouse
Food52 in December announced it would acquire Portland, Oregon-based lighting and lifestyle goods company Schoolhouse for about $48 million in cash and stock. The deal has since closed, according to the company.
The acquisition builds on Food52’s commerce ambitions, particularly in the home space. After seeing triple-digit growth of home products in its online store, the website in 2020 launched its Home52 vertical. And in May this year, Food52 announced it acquired housewares brand Dansk and is currently working to revitalize the brand.
In its first acquisition to date, Harry’s Labs in December announced it was acquiring Lume, a DTC brand focused on controlling “all-over” body odor, for an undisclosed amount. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, subject to customary closing conditions.
The deal follows a $155 million funding round in March, which Harry’s at the time said would primarily be used to add new brands to its portfolio.
Harry’s Labs has developed and launched several brands, including razor brands Harry’s and Flamingo, pet brand Cat Person and haircare brand Headquarters.
Dec. 13, 2021
Nike's acquisition of Rtfkt
In what Nike called the next step in its “digital transformation,” the retail giant in December acquired virtual sneaker company Rtfkt. Rtfkt creates virtual products and experiences using technologies like augmented reality, blockchain authentication, NFTs and game engines. The company calls its products “next generation collectibles” and Nike plans to use Rtfkt’s expertise to extend its own footprint and capabilities, while also growing the Rtfkt business.
The acquisition is one of several Nike has made in recent years to help accelerate its digital strategy, including predictive analytics firm Celect and data integration platform Datalogue. The Rtfkt purchase “accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming and culture,” CEO John Donahoe said in a statement.
Dec. 9, 2021
Farfetch acquisition of Luxclusif
Luxury platform Farfetch announced that it acquired resale platform Luxclusif for an undisclosed sum. Luxclusif is a B2B service provider that allows for the acquisition, authentication and sale of secondhand goods to and from auctions, retailers, stores and e-commerce platforms.
The two companies have worked together for a number of years, specifically on Farfetch’s Second Life, where Luxclusif provided the means for the luxury marketplace to authenticate, price and sell pre-owned handbags in Europe. Luxclusif will go on to operate Farfetch’s Second Life platform and will integrate new and existing partners into the program.
Luxclusif employees will join Farfetch as part of the deal.
Dec. 8, 2021
Grove Collaborative go-public merger with Virgin Group Acquisition Corp. II
June 16, 2022
About six months after announcing plans to go public via a SPAC merger, Grove Collaborative and Virgin Group Acquisition Corp. II closed their transaction. Shares of Grove Collaborative Holdings began trading June 17.
“Our path to profitability is clear and we will continue to advance our mission to transform consumer products into a positive force for human and environmental health,” Grove CEO Stuart Landesberg said in a statement. “We expect the inevitable transition away from single use plastic will only accelerate as consumers increasingly demand more sustainable options, and Grove is leading the charge.”
Dec. 8, 2021
Grove Collaborative in December announced it would go public through a merger with special purpose acquisition company Virgin Group Acquisition Corp. II. The company will list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “GROV.”
When the deal was announced, Grove said the transaction was expected to close in late Q1 or early Q2. According to a joint press release from the companies, the merger values Grove at $1.5 billion. The proceeds from the transaction could be up to $435 million, providing the company with additional cash to fuel its expansion.
Dec. 8, 2021
L'Oreal acquires Youth to the People
L’Oreal signed an agreement to acquire California-based skincare company Youth to the People for an undisclosed amount.
Youth to the People is available in the U.S., Canada, Australia and select countries in Europe. The brand is a mix of direct-to-consumer e-commerce and “selective distribution,” according to an announcement about the deal.
Youth to the People was founded in 2015 and is known for its vegan formulas. The brand is projected to reach over $50 million in sales this year.
“We have been inspired by the passion and vision of the brand’s two founders, Joe Cloyes and Greg Gonzalez, in bringing the best of the health-conscious, California lifestyle to high performance beauty,” Stéphane Rinderknech, CEO of L’Oreal USA, said in a statement. “We believe in the potential of this special brand, and we look forward to working with the Youth to the People team to help them realize this potential.”
Dec. 3, 2021
Shoe Carnival acquisition of Shoe Station
In the first acquisition over its 43-year history, Shoe Carnival bought southeastern footwear retailer Shoe Station for $67 million with cash on hand. The acquisition adds more than 20 stores to Shoe Carnival’s portfolio and roughly $100 million to its net sales. With the deal, Shoe Station CEO Brent Barkin, son of the company’s founder, will become Shoe Carnival’s senior vice president of new business development and integration, and will continue to lead the Shoe Station brand.
Shoe Carnival CEO Mark Worden said the acquisition accelerates the company’s efforts to become a multi-billion dollar footwear retailer, in terms of sales.
The deal closed after being cleared under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, the company said. Billie, which was founded in 2017, will continue to be led by its co-founders, Georgina Gooley and Jason Bravman.
Edgewell itself — which also has brands Wilkinson Sword and Skintimate in its portfolio — in 2019 announced a deal to acquire another DTC razor brand, Harry’s. The deal, however, was called off after the FTC moved to block the acquisition on antitrust grounds.
Nov. 29, 2021
Osprey acquisition by Helen of Troy
On Dec. 30, Helen of Troy announced it completed the acquisition of Osprey. “The brand is an excellent strategic fit,” Helen of Troy CEO Julien Mininberg said in a statement, adding that it “will be a significant complementary addition to our Housewares indoor and outdoor portfolio alongside Hydro Flask and OXO. With approximately half of its sales outside of the United States, Osprey further accelerates our international growth strategy. We see excellent opportunities to enhance and expand Osprey’s already robust new product pipeline, expand distribution with new retail customers, and further expand the brand’s footprint both in the U.S. and internationally.”
Helen of Troy, owner of water bottle company Hydro Flask, in late November announced its plans to acquire outdoors backpack brand Osprey for $414 million in cash. The company sees Osprey complementing its Hydro Flask and OXO brands, with opportunities to cross-sell the businesses at wholesale partners. Already, some of Osprey’s biggest brand partners — including Nordstrom, REI, L.L. Bean, Dick’s, Moosejaw and Amazon — sell Hydro Flask or other Helen of Troy brands.
Helen of Troy plans to continue expanding Osprey, including improving its use of Amazon and growing its DTC channels, which already make up a “significant” portion of sales. Product expansions are also on the horizon and could include items in camping, outdoor apparel and footwear.
Osprey is expected to bring in 2021 net sales of between $155 million to $160 million. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the year, subject to customary closing conditions.
Nov. 24, 2021
EBay's acquisition of Sneaker Con's authentication business
EBay purchased the sneaker authentication arm of Sneaker Con Digital for an undisclosed sum. The deal, which closed on Nov. 24, is an extension of a partnership between the two companies. Sneaker Con was tapped in October 2020 to verify sneakers that sold for more than $100 in the U.S. as part of eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee program.
“The response to our authentication offering has been overwhelming, and this acquisition allows us to continue to transform eBay and bring a higher level of trust and confidence to every transaction,” Jordan Sweetnam, senior vice president and general manager of eBay North America, said in a statement.
Sneaker Con will continue to retain ownership of its events business.
Nov. 22, 2021
Authentic Brands sale of minority stakes
Following its private investment by financial firms, Authentic Brands officially requested that the SEC withdraw its IPO registration statement in the first week of 2022 after saying in November that it was shelving its plans to go public for now.
On its own and with partners, Authentic Brands has acquired household names such as Forever 21, Barneys New York and Brooks Brothers. As it eyed more growth and new categories, the company filed papers for an initial public offering earlier this year in a hot market.
But then the company about-faced. In November, Authentic Brands announced that two investment firms, CVC Capital Partners and HPS Investment Partners, agreed to buy “significant” stakes from unnamed current investors in the company. The deal values Authentic Brands at $12.7 billion and leaves BlackRock as its largest shareholder.
With the new investors, Authentic Brands put its IPO plans on hold for now. CEO Jamie Salter — who signed on for another five years — told CNBC that the company was now targeting an IPO in 2023 or 2024.
Nov. 15, 2021
Casper acquisition by private equity firm Durational Capital Management
The deal will provide shareholders with $6.90 for every share outstanding, about a 94% premium of Casper’s Nov. 12 closing share price of $3.55. The acquisition, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022, is not subject to financing conditions. Durational said it has committed debt financing led by KKR Credit and Callodine Commercial Finance.
Nov. 15, 2021
L'Occitane acquisition of Sol de Janeiro
Beauty retailer L’Occitane on Nov. 15 announced it had acquired a majority stake in Sol de Janeiro, a global prestige body care brand. Founded in 2015, Sol de Janeiro focuses on results-driven body care with ingredients sourced from Brazil. It offers body care, fragrance and hair care products through both DTC channels and wholesale.
In the press release on the acquisition, L’Occitane described it as “one of the fastest-growing premium skincare brands in North America” and said the acquisition would help build its portfolio of premium beauty brands. L’Occitane, which will acquire an 83% indirect interest in the company, plans to expand the brand into new markets.
“Sol de Janeiro is a strategic fit for the Group in terms of brand recognition and identity, product quality, management capability, as well as growth, profitability and cash generation prospects,” L’Occitane said in the release. “Sol de Janeiro’s digital presence and established body care business is complementary to the Group’s balanced geographical strategy to build a portfolio of strong brands in all major geographical regions.”
Nov. 15, 2021
Milk Makeup and Obagi go-public SPAC merger
July 28, 2022
Just over eight months after announcing plans to go public through a SPAC deal, Milk Makeup, Obagi Skincare and Waldencast Acquisition Corp. completed their transaction. The combined company in late July began trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “WALD.”
“Our mission at Milk Makeup is to create unique, high performance, clean and cruelty-free products that help our global community to Live their Look,” Milk Makeup CEO Tim Coolican said in a statement. “We found in Waldencast a partner who shares our mission and our values of self-expression and inclusion. We are very excited to join the public markets, which we believe will allow us to accelerate our reach and impact and realize our ambition of becoming the number one beauty brand for the next generation.
Nov. 15, 2021
Beauty brands Milk Makeup and Obagi entered into an agreement to merge with special purpose acquisition company Waldencast Acquisition Corp., in a deal valued at $1.2 billion.
Waldencast was founded by two former L’Oréal executives: Michel Brousset, Waldencast’s CEO and former group president of L’Oréal North America Consumer Products, and Hind Sebti, Waldencast’s chief operating officer and former general manager for L’Oréal brands like Maybelline, Essie UK, Redken and Pureology.
SPACs have risen in popularity over the last couple of years. So far in 2021, 555 SPACs have filed IPOs, up from 248 last year and 59 in 2019, according to SPAC Insider. But the Securities and Exchange Commission has recently raised concerns over the exit method, pushing for stricter disclosure rules for SPACs.
The acquisitions of Milk Makeup and Obagi will be funded by $345 million from Waldencast’s IPO; $333 million from forward purchase agreements, of which $160 million comes from the sponsor; $105 million from a private investment in public equity, or PIPE, priced at $10 a share; and $475 million in rollover equity from Obagi and Milk Makeup
Nov. 12, 2021
Rue Gilt Groupe IPO
Off-price, luxury e-commerce company Rue Gilt Group filed to go public with a target of raising $100 million. It expects to be listed on the Nasdaq with a ticker symbol of RGG.
The company’s primary offerings include RueLaLa, Gilt and Shop Premium Outlets. Simon Property Group invested in the company in 2019 and is one of the company’s largest stockholders. CEO David Simon serves on the company’s board of directors.
Rue Gilt Group currently has 1 million active buyers, and has experienced operating losses each year since its inception.
Quiet Logistics will continue to operate as an independent business, and will offer fulfillment services for other brands. The retailer in Q2 of 2021 acquired e-commerce logistics provider AirTerra, which also still offers services to other brands, providing American Eagle with an additional revenue stream.
“I am thrilled to officially welcome Quiet Logistics into the AEO Inc. portfolio, cementing a collaborative partnership that has meaningfully contributed to our financial results over the past 18 months,” American Eagle Outfitters CEO Jay Schottenstein said in a statement. “AEO’s unique ability to reduce delivery costs amid rising inflation is a direct reflection of the efficiencies provided by their innovative fulfillment model.”
Oct. 29, 2021
Galaxy Universal's acquisition of Sequential Brands' activewear portfolio
Sometimes the best buyer for your brands sounds a lot like the entity that owned them all along. Sequential Brands Group, which filed for bankruptcy in August, has an agreement to sell its And1, Avia, Gaiam and SPRI activewear brands to Galaxy Universal for about $330 million.
Galaxy is a portfolio of brands owned by private equity firm Gainline Capital Partners, led by brand management expert Eddie Esses. Galaxy Brand Holdings, which Sequential itself acquired seven years ago, was also a portfolio of brands, and at that time was also led by Esses. The current Galaxy, which also has licensing deals with brands, including Justice and London Fog, earlier this year also acquired Apex Global Brands, which includes Hi-Tec, Magnum and Tony Hawk.
Since filing Chapter 11, Sequential has been selling off its brands, including Ellen Tracy and Caribbean Joe for $20 million in August. Since then, among other sales, Jessica Simpson won back her namesake brand from Sequential for $65 million following the cancellation of an auction, according to court documents.
Oct. 20, 2021
Spanx sale of a majority stake to Blackstone
Spanx announced in November that Blackstone’s investment in the company had closed. Spanx also said it had brought in a slew of new investors, including Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd, as well as female-founded investment funds G9 Ventures and Able Partners. The size and value of the new investors’ stakes were not disclosed.
Founded in 2000 by Sara Blakely, womenswear brand Spanx sold a majority stake in the company to investment firm Blackstone. The deal valued the company at a total of $1.2 billion and left the management team in charge of operations. On closing, Blakely is set to shift into the role of executive chairwoman while keeping a significant stake in the company. Spanx also said that it will have an all-female board under Blackstone.
The deal would additionally “enable Spanx to accelerate its already rapid digital transformation and strong online presence in the e-commerce channel, expand its global footprint” and fuel new product innovations, Spanx said.
Oct. 14, 2021
A.K.A. Brands acquisition of Mnml
A.K.A. Brands acquired DTC menswear company Mnml for $48.6 million in cash and equity. The deal closed on Oct. 14. Last year, Mnml made around $20 million in net revenue and the company has generated a double-digit EBITDA margin this year to date.
“The acquisition reinforces our presence in the vibrant streetwear market, and we are confident that Mnml has tremendous opportunities for meaningful growth in the U.S. and internationally,” Jill Ramsey, chief executive officer of A.K.A. Brands, said in a statement.
Mnml clothing will be sold via its website and through Culture Kings in the U.S. and Australia.
Oct. 13, 2021
Poshmark acquisition of Suede One
Poshmark’s first acquisition is of Suede One, a virtual sneaker authentication platform. The purchase is part of Poshmark’s effort to catalyze growth in popular secondhand goods categories and strengthen the user experience for both buyers and sellers.
Suede One, which was founded in 2020, has an inventory-less approach to authentication. Product images are analyzed, and algorithms focus on “consistencies to identify whether an item is real or counterfeit,” according to the company.
As part of the deal, the Suede One staff will become part of Poshmark’s team.
Oct. 12, 2021
Best Buy acquisition of Current Health
Best Buy announced that it entered into an agreement to acquire care-at-home tech platform Current Health. The company, which is headquartered in Edinburgh, United Kingdom, provides patient monitoring, telehealth and patient engagement services. It also offers a wearable device to give healthcare organizations real-time insights into a patient’s condition.
The cost of the deal was not disclosed, but the acquisition will be financed with cash, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The deal is expected to close by the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022.
Oct. 12, 2021
The price of Lulu’s Fashion’s first publicly traded shares fell more than 18% upon their debut, though Women’s Wear Daily reports that CEO David McCreight remains unfazed. The previous day, the fast-fashion e-retailer announced it was offering 5.75 million shares of its common stock at $16 per share, the low end of its goal, for gross proceeds of $92 million.
Online fast-fashion retailer Lulu’s, like other e-commerce pure plays, has struggled to maintain consistent profits. The company, which said it plans to list on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker “LVLU,” was expected to be in the black in its most recent quarter, with net income of $3.3 million, up from $377,000 in the year-ago period, per its S-1 filing. But the e-retailer ended its last two fiscal years in the red, with net losses of $469,000 in 2019 and $19.3 million in 2020.
Several analysts this year have warned about the decline of fast fashion, in light of consumers’ rising concerns about sustainability and appreciation for resale. But Lulu’s says instead that it’s brick-and-mortar apparel retail with dimming prospects, due to “a prolonged and unattractive merchandising and buying cycle,” the wholesale markup and growing online sales, especially from younger shoppers. Lulu’s launched in 1996 as a brick-and-mortar boutique, but says it shifted to online only to reach its target market.
Oct. 12, 2021
Signet acquisition of Diamonds Direct
Signet announced the finalization of its Diamonds Direct takeover, as planned. The acquisition is “immediately accretive... accelerates our growth strategy and gives our customers even more choice across our differentiated banners,” Signet CEO Virginia Drosos said in a statement. The $490 million cash purchase price reflects “approximately a 1.1x multiple on annualized revenue and approximately a 7.1x multiple on annualized EBITDA,” per a company press release. Diamonds Direct operates 22 locations, and its “mature stores [have] a median annualized revenue of approximately $18.5 million over the last twelve months,” the company said.
Signet has a deal to buy off-mall rival Diamonds Direct for $490 million in cash. If it passes muster with regulators, the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2022, pending customary conditions, the company said. Diamonds Direct’s leadership team is sticking around, with president Itay Berger reporting directly to Signet CEO Virginia Drosos.
Signet, whose banners include Jared, Kay and Zales, largely based in malls, raised expectations for the year in September after second quarter comps nearly doubled. It raised them again when it announced its purchase of Diamonds Direct, saying its forward momentum continues. The takeover will help the company expand its market share, though it also faces rising competition from department stores and online pure plays, Wells Fargo analysts said following the acquisition announcement.
Oct. 4, 2021
Arhaus on Nov. 3 announced the pricing of its IPO of 12.9 million shares of stock at $13 per share. Underwriters have a 30-day option to purchase an additional 1.9 million shares at the initial public offering price.
Home furnishing retailer Arhaus in October filed for an initial public offering, with plans to list itself on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “ARHS.” The number of shares or price range have not yet been determined. The proposed offering amount is up to $100 million, according to a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The retailer, which was founded in 1986, operates 75 showrooms across 27 states and sees potential to expand to over 165 locations in new and existing markets, according to the S-1 filing.
In its most recent fiscal year, Arhaus’ net revenue was $507 million, up slightly from 2019 when it was $494.5 million. The company’s e-commerce business experienced 64% growth last year and represented about 18% of total net revenues. Arhaus’ net income increased 7.2% year over year to $17.8 million.
Oct. 4, 2021
Solo Brands IPO
Solo Brands priced its IPO at $17 per share with an offering of 12.9 million shares, according to a press release. The IPO’s underwriters have the option to buy an additional 1.9 million shares at that price. All told, the offering could raise the direct-to-consumer company more than $250 million. Solo is set to trade under the ticker symbol “DTC” beginning Oct. 28. The company expects the offering to close Nov. 1.
Led by Solo Stove, its largest brand, Solo Brands positions itself as a data-savvy collection of outdoor lifestyle brands. Founded in 2011 by brothers Jeff and Spencer Jan, Solo Stove has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 132% over the past five years since launching its fire pit product.
The company, now backed by private equity firm Summit Partners, made three acquisitions this year: apparel maker Chubbies, and equipment brands Oru Kayak and Isle Paddle Boards. In October, it filed for an initial public offering, saying it would use the proceeds to reduce its debt and potentially make more acquisitions.
Aug. 31, 2021
Allbirds upped the number of shares it was offering and the price of its shares Nov. 2, the day before it was set to debut on the Nasdaq. Previously, Allbirds and its shareholders were planning to offer 19.2 million, but an additional 1 million shares from Allbirds increased that number to 20.2 million. On Nov. 3, Allbirds offered 16.3 million shares and its shareholders offered 3.8 million at $15 per share, raising $303 million total. The IPO values Allbirds at over $2 billion.
Allbirds on Monday announced it would be offering about 19.2 million shares in its IPO, including 15.4 million shares itself and 3.8 million shares from stockholders, according to a filing with the SEC. All are expected to sell for between $12 and $14 per share, which would allow Allbirds to raise $269 million at the high-end of that range (though Allbirds would not get any of the proceeds from the shares sold by its stockholders). The deal values the DTC brand at roughly $2 billion.
After months of rumors, Allbirds filed for an IPO in late August without specifying the number of shares or the potential price range. The DTC darling plans to list its stock on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the ticker symbol, “BIRD.” The retailer’s growth plan involves deepening its footwear and apparel assortment to include more casual, performance and outdoor offerings, and expanding its store fleet to potentially “hundreds” of stores, among other things.
The company is aiming to be “the first sustainable public equity offering,” and highlighted its commitment to sustainability throughout the release. Like some of its peers that have filed to go public, Allbirds also revealed a string of losses. The brand made $219 million in revenue in 2020, up from $194 million the year prior, but net loss grew during the same timeframe, from $14.5 million in 2019 to $25.9 million in 2020. In the first six months of 2021, the company reported a net loss of $21 million.
Aug. 30, 2021
Brilliant Earth IPO
Brilliant Earth changed the initial public offering plans it had announced Sept. 14, which were to offer 16.7 million shares priced between $14 to $16. On IPO day on Sept. 23, the sustainable online jeweler offered half that many shares, at a more conservative $12, trading under the stock ticker “BRLT.” “Obviously we can’t control market conditions,” CEO and co-founder Beth Gerstein said by phone before the opening bell. “We’re holding on to our shares because we think there’s so much tremendous long-term value.” It was a good first day; shares closed at just over $17. The company sells largely online but also runs 14 showrooms in major U.S. cities, where it welcomes customers by appointment. Last year, the company’s net sales reached $251.8 million and it swung into the black, with $21.6 million in net income from a $7.8 million loss in 2019. In the first half of this year, net sales rose 77.7% year over year to $163 million, with net income at $10.9 million, up from $0.2 million in the same period last year.
Since its founding in 2005, DTC jeweler Brilliant Earth has been capitalizing on several shifts in the market, including mounting demand for sustainably sourced gems and precious metals, and increasing comfort with shopping for even luxury items online. Add to that the fact that millennial and Gen Z customers are key demographics for the bridal industry, which provides a large portion of the jewelry market.
Still run by co-founders Beth Gerstein and Eric Grossberg, Brilliant Earth also operates 14 showrooms in major U.S. cities, according to its website. Last year, the company’s net sales reached $251.8 million and it swung into the black, with $21.6 million in net income from a $7.8 million loss in 2019, per the SEC filing. In the first half of this year, net sales rose 77.7% year over year to $163 million, with net income at $10.9 million, up from $0.2 million in the same period last year. Based in San Francisco and Denver, the company has served more 370,000 customers in the U.S. and more than 50 countries, per the release.
The company aims to begin trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “BRLT,” though the number of shares and their price range had not been determined at the time of filing.
Aug. 27, 2021
Olaplex started trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on Sept. 30, with its 73.7 million shares listed at $21, raising some $1.5 billion. Olaplex did not receive any of the proceeds from the sale. By Oct. 7, a week later, shares had reached $26 each, putting its overall total value at over $16 billion.
Founded in 2014, haircare brand Olaplex has more than 100 patents on shampoos, bonding oils, hair treatments and other products. The brand’s largest market is professional hairstylists, while the DTC channel accounts for 27% of sales, and retail — with Sephora being its principal account — makes up the remaining 18%.
Olaplex was acquired in early 2020 by private equity firm Advent International, which plans to retain majority voting power after the company’s initial public offering. Sales have grown quickly, and so has debt which totals $766.8 million. Much of that comes from a $470 million dividend, financed with loans and paid to an entity controlled by Advent Funds and other investors.
Aug. 26, 2021
Gap Inc. acquisition of Drapr
Gap Inc. announced that it acquired e-commerce startup Drapr, a company that uses 3D try-on technology to help shoppers find the best clothing size and fit. The tech also cuts back on returns.
“Fit is the number one point of friction for customers and, through their advanced 3D technology, Drapr has shown it can help shoppers efficiently find the size and fit they need,” Sally Gilligan, chief growth transformation officer at Gap Inc., said in a statement. ″We plan to leverage Drapr to help Gap Inc. improve the fit experience for our customers and accelerate our ongoing digital transformation.”
Gap Inc.’s Strategic Growth Office, a division that looks for investments that can catalyze growth across its subsidiaries, brokered the deal with Drapr.
Aug. 23, 2021
A.K.A. Brands IPO
A.K.A. Brands lowered its price target to $11 just ahead of its initial public offering Sept. 22. But the fast-fashion retailer missed that when its stock began trading mid-morning, MarketWatch reported. At its debut price of $9.50, the company is valued at $1.2 billion, according to that report. The tepid reaction to the stock (at press time the price was hovering around $10) may reflect the weaknesses that are emerging in the fast fashion industry. The segment faces steep declines in coming years, according to UBS analysts. The concept has fallen out of favor among some younger consumers, prompting rivals, including resale site ThredUp and legacy brand Levi’s, to position themselves against fast fashion, with the latter trumpeting itself as the “antithesis of fast fashion.”
A.K.A. Brands on Aug. 23 filed a Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, with plans to begin trading shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock ticker “AKA.” Neither the number of shares to be offered nor their price range had been determined at the time of filing.
The company launched in 2018 and runs several DTC brands including Princess Polly, Culture Kings, Petal & Pup and Rebdolls, according to a company press release. A.K.A. sees growth opportunity in the declines of department stores and specialty retailers, per its filing.
The company’s portfolio enjoys “strong followings from Millennial and Gen Z customers,” according to the filing. Each brand aims for a distinct audience, within a platform that “leverages a flexible, asset-light operating model to help each brand accelerate its growth, scale in new markets and enhance their profitability,” the company said in its release. A.K.A.’s 2020 net sales more than doubled year over year, as net income skyrocketed to $14.8 million, from $1.4 million in 2019, per the SEC filing.
Aug. 23, 2021
Running brand On set its final IPO price at $24 per share, according to a company press release, solidly above the high end of its initial range, which capped at $20. The company raised over $600 million for itself, and $746 million overall. On its first day of trading, shares started even higher, at $35.40, reportedly valuing the company at $11 billion.
On in early September set the number of shares for its IPO at 31,100,000, including 25,442,391 from On itself and 5,657,609 from “certain selling shareholders,” the company said in a release. The share price is expected to be between $18 and $20, and underwriters will have the option to purchase up to an additional 4,665,000 shares.
Running brand On entered the hot IPO market in August, with plans to list itself on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker, “ONON.” The Roger Federer-backed sportswear company did not specify the number of shares to be offered or the price of those shares. According to its prospectus, On has grown net sales at a compound annual growth rate of 85% from its founding in 2010 through 2020. Last year, the brand recorded net sales of 425.3 million Swiss Francs ($465.7 million).
The company’s growth plans include expanding its DTC channels by enhancing its digital experience and building out “a very selective presence with flagship locations in key cities around the globe,” as well as continuing to grow wholesale. New product categories are on the horizon as well, including moving from selling just footwear to apparel and accessories.
Aug. 12, 2021
Adidas sale of Reebok
After months of speculation, Adidas officially put Reebok up for sale in February. “After careful consideration, we have come to the conclusion that Reebok and adidas will be able to significantly better realize their growth potential independently of each other,” CEO Kasper Rorsted said in a statement at the time. “We will work diligently in the coming months to ensure a successful future for the Reebok brand and the team behind it.”
Once a major competitor in the sports market, Reebok has since shrunk to focus more squarely on the fitness space. Authentic Brands plans to maintain Reebok’s footprint “across retail, wholesale and e-commerce channels.”
Aug. 5, 2021
Levi's acquisition of Beyond Yoga
With consumers not only embracing denim for all sorts of occasions but also switching from skinny jeans to looser styles, market leader Levi’s has things pretty well sewn up. But its plans to acquire DTC brand Beyond Yoga for an undisclosed amount show that the iconic retailer is not satisfied with simply riding out its present good fortune and is apparently loath to miss out on the boom in athleisure.
Founded in 2005, Beyond Yoga will remain a separate division of Levi’s and keep its own chief executive, co-founder Michelle Wahler, who will report to Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh. The brand, like Levi’s itself, says it embraces inclusivity, offering sizes from XXS to 4X. Over the past three years, Beyond Yoga’s revenues more than doubled; as part of Levi’s portfolio, it has an opportunity to grow more rapidly and more widely.
The move throws more heat on an already fiercely competitive market, where Gap Inc.’s rapidly rising Athleta brand has taken on industry stalwart Lululemon, and several mass-market chains and other retailers have introduced activewear and athleisure assortments of their own
Aug. 5, 2021
Sequential Brands sale of Ellen Tracy and Caribbean Joe
Sequential Brands sold the brand assets for Ellen Tracy for $17 million and its Caribbean Joe brand for $3 million in a deal with a company affiliated with GMA Group. Sequential — which owns Jessica Simpson, Joe’s Jeans, And1, Avia and other brands — has been selling off assets to raise cash for lenders and stabilize its finances. Sequential originally bought the Ellen Tracy and Caribbean Joe apparel labels in 2013 for $62.3 million, three times what it sold them for in 2021.
Aug. 3, 2021
Wolverine World Wide acquisition of Sweaty Betty
Wolverine World Wide announced it acquired fitness brand Sweaty Betty for around $410 million in an all-cash transaction. The conglomerate, which is best known for its portfolio of footwear brands including Sperry, Hush Puppies, Keds and Stride Rite, sees the acquisition as a way to expand its DTC strategy and further define itself as a lifestyle company.
Sweaty Betty’s CEO, Julia Straus, will continue to lead the brand and will report to Wolverine World Wide President Brendan Hoffman.
Aug. 2, 2021
Foot Locker acquisition of Atmos
Foot Locker completed its acquisition of Japanese retailer Atmos for $360 million on Nov. 1, according to a company press release. Atmos will keep its brand name under Foot Locker. “We are delighted to officially welcome Atmos’s iconic founder, Hidefumi Hommyo, and the entire Atmos team to the Foot Locker family,” Dick Johnson, Chairman and CEO of Foot Locker, said in a statement. “We deeply value Atmos’s unique brand, innovative, experiential stores, premium offerings, collaborations and understanding of sneakerhead culture.”
Foot Locker on Aug. 2 announced it would acquire Japanese retailer Atmos’ parent company Text Trading Company for $360 million in cash, one of two acquisitions the company made that day. Atmos has 49 stores globally, the vast majority (39) of which are located in Japan.
Atmos made around $175 million in revenue last year and the acquisition is designed to give Foot Locker a chance to grow its influence in the “rapidly growing Asia-Pacific market,” specifically Japan, which has the third-largest economy globally. Atmos expands upon Foot Locker’s positioning as well, with the retailer operating in the “premium boutique streetwear” market rather than Foot Locker’s core athletics space.
Aug. 2, 2021
Foot Locker acquisition of WSS
Foot Locker closed its acquisition of WSS parent Eurostar on Sept. 20. The $750-million deal was first announced in early August at the same time as another acquisition, of Japanese retailer Atmos’ parent company Text Trading Company. WSS will maintain its name and operate as a separate brand. The athletic retailer also appointed a Foot Locker executive as the company’s new chief operating officer and reiterated its expectation for the company to produce low double-digit sales growth annually. “WSS brings an expanded and differentiated customer base rooted in the rapidly growing Hispanic community, diversifies and enhances our product mix, and strengthens our footprint with a 100% off-mall store fleet located in key markets,” CEO Dick Johnson said in a statement.
For Foot Locker, the deal allows the company access to the “rapidly growing Hispanic consumer demographic” WSS caters to. Foot Locker already has plans for significant expansion of WSS, which will operate as its own banner. Executives believe WSS could grow to become a $1 billion brand. The company expands Foot Locker’s positioning with a banner focused on delivering a “classics driven assortment for [the] full family.”
July 26, 2021
ThredUp acquisition of Remix
ThredUp was likely charmed into buying Remix for $28.5 million, not just by its direct-to-consumer sales — the Bulgaria-based company’s revenue was $33.9 million last year — but also its logistics capabilities. The U.S. company has been making a name for itself providing a platform for thousands of other retailers and brands to establish resale operations, a business that could be at least as lucrative as its own sales of used clothing. Its most recent and most extensive project was the establishment of a new resale site for Madewell, coming soon after deals with Vera Bradley, Farfetch and LG to provide resale service logistics.
In both capacities, ThredUp is playing in a space that it says could reach $77 billion in five years, growth that would outpace that of the wider market and could take share from fast fashion. Wells Fargo analysts said the Remix acquisition, (which includes retaining its leadership), plus its positive second-quarter update indicate ”a long runway ahead for [ThredUp] as global resale industry growth plays into three key themes, namely: 1) sustainability, 2) value, and 3) the shift to e-commerce.”
July 20, 2021
LVMH acquisition of Off-White
LVMH and Virgil Abloh announced the luxury conglomerate will own a 60% interest in Off-White LLC, the trademark owner of Off-White. Abloh will retain a 40% interest and remain creative director of the brand, as well as continue on as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear. The partnership will also give the designer the ability to launch new brands and partner with existing ones beyond fashion.
July 19, 2021
Rent the Runway IPO
In early trading on its IPO day, Rent the Runway edged past its opening price of $21 per share, but ended the day below it. The apparel rental and resale company had upsized its offer, going with the high end of its previously announced range and expanding its count by 2 million shares. The company hadn’t given investors much to go on, releasing through its prospectus just two and a half years of financial results and otherwise noting a “history of losses.” The resale boom and pandemic-induced shift to e-commerce, part of which looks to be permanent, are in its favor, but from here on out, as a public company, Rent the Runway will have to show its work.
Rent the Runway Oct. 19 launched its IPO roadshow, saying in a press release and updated S-1 filing with the SEC that it will offer 15 million shares, priced between $18 and $21 each. That amounts to the online apparel rental company, which has also documented a history of losses, seeking a valuation of as much as $1.5 billion, per Reuters.
Rent the Runway on Oct. 4 revealed its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, stating its intention to trade its shares via the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “RENT.” The number of shares and their price remain undetermined. The company took a hit last year as consumers had little need to dress up for work or special occasions, though it was in the red the year before as well. Its 2020 net loss widened to $171.1 million, from $153.9 million in 2019, and in the first six months of this year net loss reached $84.7 million. In fact, in its prospectus the company notes it has “a history of losses.”
Fashion rental brand Rent the Runway confidentially filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering. The company hasn’t yet determined the number of shares or price for the IPO. Rent the Runway said it intends to go public after the SEC completes its review.
July 12, 2021
Nordstrom's minority stake in several Asos-owned brands
U.K. apparel e-retailer Asos in January acquired Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT from Arcadia following the British conglomerate’s bankruptcy filing last November and “will retain operational and creative control of the Topshop brands.” Nordstrom, which has been the exclusive U.S. distributor of Topshop and Topman for nearly a decade, will now be their only brick-and-mortar presence worldwide and “have the exclusive multi-channel retail rights for Topshop and Topman in all of North America.” The brands’ own stores have closed, many after a 2019 restructuring.
The department store, which perennially invests in innovative concepts and edgy brands, is eyeing young consumers with this move, as the retailer’s president and chief brand officer, Pete Nordstrom, said in a statement.
“We could not have found a better partner in Asos, the world leader in fashion for the 20-something customer, and are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them to reimagine the wholesale/retail partnership, ” he said. “Bringing the Asos brands, including Topshop and Topman, to our customers allows us to create newness and excitement for this important dynamic customer segment.”
June 28, 2021
Etsy acquisition of Elo7
Just a week after announcing the deal, Etsy completed its acquisition of Elo7. Etsy CEO Josh Silverman said the Brazilian marketplace will help Etsy capitalize on e-commerce growth in the region. The two share a similar focus on improving search and discovery, selling and buying, and making human connections, according to the companies. “Elo7 is a great addition to Etsy’s House of Brands portfolio, which, upon completion of our acquisition of Depop, will include four highly differentiated, non-commoditized and loved ecommerce brands that share similar levers of growth to unlock value,” Silverman said.
Fresh off its $1.6 billion deal to buy Gen Z resale favorite Depop, Etsy has made plans to gain a foothold in Latin America by acquiring privately-held Elo7. Most of the 8 million or so items for sale on Elo7 are made to order, and Elo7 CEO Carlos Curioni called Etsy “an inspiration and a reference for us.” The e-marketplace, which boasts some 1.9 million active buyers and 56,000 active sellers, will remain headquartered in São Paulo and be run by Curioni’s team as a stand-alone company.
The approach, which preserves branding while lending Etsy’s scale, mirrors Etsy’s other recent acquisitions, including not just of Depop but also music gear marketplace Reverb, bought for $275 million two years ago.
Brazil’s economy is the largest in Latin America, and per Qualtrics research is among the emerging markets making “the most significant shifts to online activities.” E-commerce giant Amazon recently opened its own marketplace there to third-party sellers from outside the country. For Etsy, the move expands its focus beyond its core markets of North America, Europe and India.
Elo7 is the ”‘Etsy of Brazil,’ with a purpose and business model similar to our own,” Etsy CEO Josh Silverman said in a statement. “Following our recent agreement to purchase Depop, we’re excited to bring another unique marketplace into the Etsy family.”
June 23, 2021
PVH sale of Izod, Van Heusen and other labels to Authentic Brands
PVH announced on Aug. 2 it had completed the sale of its Izod, Van Heusen, Arrow and Geoffrey Beene brand assets to Authentic Brands for a final cash purchase price of $223 million. In a statement, PVH CEO Stefan Larsson said the company was focused on “unlocking the full potential” of its Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein brands while Authentic Brands would be “well positioned to further develop and support our former Heritage Brands for future success.”
As it focuses in on its core Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands, PVH moved to unload major labels in its Heritage Brands business. In June, the company said it would sell the Izod, Van Heusen, Arrow and Geoffrey Beene brand trademarks to Authentic Brands Group for $220 million. Authentic Brands will take over the licensing partnerships attached to those brands and said it would look to grow the brands globally.
PVH said it would continue to own and operate the intimates and underwear businesses, and will operate the dress shirts and neckwear business. The deal adds another layer of well-known brands to Authentic Brands’ growing presence in apparel. The Izod brand is more than 80 years old, and Van Heusen more than a century.
June 23, 2021
Warby Parker direct listing
Warby Parker debuted on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, opening at a price of $54.05. That’s significantly higher than it sold its shares for: The company priced its shares at $24.53. By the end of its first day of trading, Warby Parker’s stock price had edged up to $54.49, giving it a market cap of $6.1 billion
The DTC eyewear brand, in August, filed documents to go public via direct listing after confidentially filing a draft document with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a public offering in June. The brand will be listed under the stock ticker “WRBY.” The filing gave a look into Warby Parker’s books for the first time, revealing the brand grew its revenue in the first half of the year to $270.5 million, up 53% from the same period in 2020. However, like many of its digitally native peers that have gone public, the brand struggles with profitability, reporting a $7.3 million net loss in the six-month period ended June 30.
Direct-to-consumer eyewear brand Warby Parker confidentially filed a draft document with the Securities and Exchange Commission related to a proposed public listing. Although the DTC brand did not disclose whether it would pursue an initial public offering or direct listing, it said it is set to make its public debut after the SEC completes its review of the S-1 filing, subject to closing conditions.
Warby Parker, which launched in 2010, was among the first class of direct-to-consumer brands and helped popularize the model.
June 21, 2021
HBC, Insight Partners spinoff of Saks Off 5th e-commerce
In stark contrast to rival department store company Nordstrom, which earlier this year outlined various ways it’s more closely integrating its full-price, off-price, offline and online operations, HBC is drawing distinctions.
Things started in March when HBC — owner of Canadian Hudson’s Bay Co. and American Saks Fifth Avenue — announced that its full-price Saks digital business would spin off with the help of a $500 million private equity-backed infusion. Now HBC is doing much the same thing with Saks’ off-price business, Saks Off 5th, this time with $200 million from investors, led again by private equity firm Insight Partners.
In both cases (which have produced a dizzying number of brand names for the various businesses), HBC is keeping the brick-and-mortar stores and their operations. Despite the divisions, the digital and physical entities will continue to have relationships with each other, at least in part to serve
June 15, 2021
Neiman Marcus acquisition of Stylyze
Neiman Marcus, its once massive debt load much lighter following last year’s bankruptcy restructuring and subsequent debt refinancing, announced the first of what it said will be a series of investments in technology over the next three years, with a budget of $500 million.
The department store said it intends to acquire cloud-based software-as-a-service platform Stylyze, which offers “enterprise solutions to the home and fashion retail verticals.” Neiman Marcus Group declined to disclose the terms of any deal, which is expected to close later this year. A Neiman spokesperson said the platform’s team, led by two women interior-design professionals who founded the company, would exclusively work for Neiman Marcus from its Seattle headquarters. Stylyze would lose its other clients — which now include Target and Build.com, among others — the spokesperson said by email.
The tech push comes amid a concerted effort by the retailer this year to expand its e-commerce capabilities. In January, Neiman Marcus replaced its chief digital officer and infused $85 million into its supply chain, saying it was “grouping technology, digital products, and advanced analytics under one leader and distorting capital to these areas.”
June 11, 2021
Iconix Brands acquisition by Lancer Capital
Iconix announced that it had completed its deal with Lancer Capital for the private equity firm to take it over for $3.15 per share. With the transaction, Iconix shares were delisted from the Nasdaq as the licensing specialist became a private company.
For more than a year Iconix Brand Group — owner of the Umbro, Starter, Mossimo, London Fog and numerous other brands — has been looking for ways to ease its debt burden, including a sale. In June, the brand holding company announced a deal to sell itself to private equity firm Lancer Capital, which would take the company private.
Under the agreement, Lancer would put in $60 million in equity capital while Silver Point Capital would provide additional financing. Lancer would acquire Iconix’s 14.5 million outstanding shares for $3.15 apiece. With net debt factored in, the deal is valued at $585 million.
June 7, 2021
Torrid began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on July 1 and raised $231 million with a $2.3 billion valuation — the high end of its projected range. The company opened at $23.25 a share, reached a high of $26.35, and sold 11 million shares.
Just over two weeks after announcing its plans for an IPO, Torrid on June 23 released additional details about the deal. The DTC apparel retailer will offer 8 million shares to be sold by existing shareholders, with the option of an additional 1.2 million. The shares will sell for between $18 and $21, according to a company release, and Torrid will not receive any of the proceeds from the sale. The IPO could raise up to $168 million (and up to $193 million if the additional shares are sold) and values Torrid at up to $2.3 billion at the high-end of its price range.
Torrid has been eyeing the public stock market for a while now. The plus apparel retailer filed for an IPO in 2017, only to take it back two years later. That may have been because apparel sales in general are ebbing, or because plus apparel retailers are contending with new competition, as more brands work toward inclusive sizing.
In any case, Torrid, which caters to “the 25- to 40-year-old woman who is curvy and wears sizes 10 to 30,” has a loyal following. And the retailer doesn’t really compete much with plus powerhouse Lane Bryant, which was just snapped up by its owner, private equity firm Sycamore Partners, late last year.
If the company follows through this time, its ticker symbol would be CURV, per its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Even after going public, Sycamore would still “own a majority of the voting power of shares eligible to vote in the election of our directors,” according to the filing.
June 2, 2021
Etsy acquisition of Depop
Etsy on July 13 announced it has completed its acquisition of resale marketplace Depop for $1.6 billion. The acquisition allows Etsy to expand its penetration in the apparel market as well as cater to the Gen Z demographic, the company said. “We believe Depop to be the resale home for Gen Z consumers with a unique offering and highly-engaged user base,” Etsy CEO Josh Silverman said in a statement. “We are excited to welcome the entire Depop community into the Etsy family and look forward to applying Etsy’s value creation roadmap to help them further drive growth.”
As secondhand apparel sales have taken off, London-based, mobile-first Depop has emerged as a global Gen Z favorite. That should have made it attractive to traditional retailers like Gap Inc. or Macy’s by now, according to Lee Peterson, executive vice president of thought leadership and marketing at WD Partners.
Instead it’s Etsy that is ponying up $1.6 billion to take it over. The acquisition fits with its reputation as a differentiated marketplace of handmade and vintage finds, while allowing it to address its weakness in apparel, according to GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders.
“The acquisition of Depop which has put down very deep roots in the resale market, especially among younger consumers in the UK and US, partly extends Etsy’s geographical reach and boosts its customer base,” Saunders said in emailed comments. “It also gives it a platform with a fashion resale focus through which it can tap into the surging secondhand clothing market.”
As with Etsy’s 2019 acquisition of musical gear marketplace Reverb, Depop will continue to operate on its own, with its leadership in place in London, while benefiting from Etsy’s scale and expertise.
May 13, 2021
Ralph Lauren sale of Club Monaco
Ralph Lauren bought Club Monaco 22 years ago, in a cash transaction with an equity value of about $52 million; Polo Ralph Lauren also paid down some $35 million of Club Monaco’s debt, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Since then, even more so during the pandemic, U.S. consumers have increasingly dressed down for every occasion, giving brands like Club Monaco and Banana Republic an especially hard time.
Analysts weren’t surprised by the company’s decision to sell the brand to private equity firm Regent, a deal, for an undisclosed amount, expected to close in June. “Like others, Ralph Lauren has appreciated the ability to use this time to recalibrate their business model,” BMO Capital Markets Managing Director Simeon Siegel said. “I think that they’re focusing on just their core healthy businesses, and on growing their core healthy businesses.”
Ralph Lauren, which also decided to turn its low-cost Chaps brand into a license-only business, said that with the Club Monaco sale it’s done trimming its portfolio.
May 13, 2021
Walmart's acquisition of Zeekit
Walmart is hopping on the virtual try-on trend with its plans to acquire Zeekit — a female-founded digital fitting room startup based in Israel. The retailer said the acquisition gives customers the ability to test clothing from Walmart.com by uploading a photo or choosing a model that best represents their body type, height and skin tone. Walmart did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.
Zeekit’s three founders — CEO Yael Vizel, Chief Technology Officer Alon Kristal and Vice President of Research and Development Nir Appleboim — will join Walmart as part of the deal.
Virtual try-on technology may help lessen returns — a problem online retailers have had historically. The deal might also indicate Walmart’s attempts to get a better share of the e-commerce market as it continues to grow exponentially.
May 11, 2021
L Brands' spinoff of Victoria's Secret
L Brands’ board on July 9 approved the spinoff separating Victoria’s Secret into a stand-alone company. The new publicly traded company includes the Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, Pink and Victoria’s Secret Beauty brands. L Brands plans to change its name to Bath & Body Works Inc., reflecting the remaining banner under the company. The company expects both the spinoff and name change to take effect Aug. 2.
L Brands on Monday took its final steps in separating Victoria’s Secret into an independent, public company, by filing the necessary paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to an announcement sent to Retail Dive. The business will be called Victoria’s Secret & Co. and will include Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, Pink and Victoria’s Secret Beauty. The separation is expected to be completed in August.
It’s been a long road for Victoria’s Secret, and in recent years a bumpy one, as the once dominant lingerie brand missed the memo of the #MeToo era.
The brand, which L Brands acquired in 1982 for $1 million, long depended on other-worldly “angels” and sexualized “glamazon” marketing that fell out of favor in the 21st century. Despite clear signs that the consumer was ready for something fresh — increasingly provided by new rivals including DTC brands and American Eagle’s Aerie —Victoria’s Secret was slow to change, and sales growth tanked.
Meanwhile, Bath & Body Works took up the slack, consistently outperforming its sibling quarter upon quarter, with demand stoked last year during the pandemic. L Brands solved its Victoria’s Secret problem early last year by selling off a majority stake to private equity firm Sycamore Partners for a measly $525 million; that fell through due to the pandemic.
Executives remained adamant that their two brands would separate somehow, though. On May 11 they said they had entertained several offers, some topping $3 billion. None passed muster with the board, which voted unanimously to spin the brand off into its own publicly traded entity. The maneuver will be complete some time in August.
The move will be good for both brands, according to GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders. ″[T]he divorce gives Victoria’s Secret no place to hide,” he said in emailed comments. “Its numbers will no longer be flattered by the contribution of Bath & Body Works and its management team will be fully accountable to investors. Such accountability is no bad thing and will likely sharpen efforts to enact a genuine turnaround at the company.”
May 11, 2021
Paper Source acquisition by Elliott Investment Management
Paper Source filed for bankruptcy early in 2021 after the financial fallout from COVID-19 caught up with it. Prior to the pandemic, the paper goods and gift retailer was undergoing a period of expansion, including by taking over leases left behind by rival Papyrus, which liquidated in early 2020.
Elliott Investment Management emerged as the successful bidder for Paper Source in a Chapter 11 process set up to sell the retailer. Elliott, which acquired Barnes & Noble in 2019, said it sees the book retailer and Paper Source as “highly complementary.”
While the two companies will operate independently, Barnes & Noble CEO James Daunt will have oversight of Paper Source, Elliott said in a presentation.
May 7, 2021
Eddie Bauer acquisition by Sparc Group
Authentic Brands and Sparc Group announced they completed the acquisition for Eddie Bauer. Post-deal, the brand’s operations will merge with Sparc while its corporate team remains in Seattle under current Eddie Bauer CEO Damien Huang. Sparc CEO Marc Miller said in a press release that the acquisition brings “an outdoor and active focus to the company and expands SPARC’s technical and performance product expertise.”
With so many specialty retailers and department stores leaving traditional malls by shrinking their footprints or heading to alternatives like strip centers, Simon Property Group has taken over — literally. With Authentic Brands Group (with whom it shares interest in Sparc) and in a few cases with rival mall REIT Brookfield, Simon now owns a stake in Aeropostale, Forever 21, Lucky Brand, Brooks Brothers and J.C. Penney. The REITs now are lobbying to be able to own even more without sacrificing their considerable tax benefits.
For Eddie Bauer, this could mean a new lease on life, after spending the last few years sharing operations with teen surfwear retailer PacSun. The current climate is favorable to outdoor gear retailers like the century-old Eddie Bauer, as consumers have embraced outside activities during the pandemic. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close June 1 if it passes muster with regulators, weren’t disclosed.
May 6, 2021
At Home acquisition by Hellman & Friedman
Hellman & Friedman on July 23 announced it completed its acquisition of At Home Group in an all-cash offer that valued the retailer at $2.8 billion, including the assumption of debt. Upon the acquisition, At Home’s common stock stopped trading and is no longer listed on the New York Stock Exchange. “This transaction will allow us to partner with H&F to help continue our store expansion, grow our offering and strengthen our position as the leading retailer of home decor,” At Home CEO and Chairman Lee Bird said in a statement.
At Home’s “go-shop” period to solicit other offers has ended, the company said in a press release Tuesday. The company contacted 24 third parties, but only one signed a nondisclosure agreement and none ultimately wanted to acquire or supply financing to At Home. That clears the path for At Home’s acquisition by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman.
CAS Investment Partners, the largest shareholder of At Home, on May 16 said in a letter to the board that it would vote against the proposed acquisition, as the deal “grossly undervalues the Company and deprives stockholders of anything resembling a fair premium.” CAS suggested instead a price closer to $70 per share, citing improvements at the retailer over the past year.
The deal — which is expected to close during the third quarter of this year, subject to customary closing conditions — would make the retailer a privately held company no longer trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Through a 40-day “go-shop” period, At Home can solicit additional acquisition proposals from other parties.
At Home shareholders will receive $36 a share, a premium of approximately 17% from the May 4 closing price, according to the announcement.
May 5, 2021
ModCloth acquisition by Nogin
When financial firm Go Global Retail bought quirky women’s apparel brand ModCloth from Walmart in 2019, the idea was to pare back discounts and expand internationally. Walmart had snapped up the online retailer in 2017 as part of its e-commerce push and seemed to largely left it alone. But the pandemic interfered with Go Global’s plans, as women, mostly working from home and with nowhere to go, stopped buying dresses. E-commerce platform Nogin came calling, and Go Global jumped at the chance to give the brand what it says will be a good home. The companies didn’t reveal terms, including price.
May 5, 2021
Office Depot spinoff of B2B business
June 21, 2022
ODP Corp opted not to sell its consumer business, which includes the Office Depot and OfficeMax banners. It also opted not to separate out its consumer business into its own stand-alone company.
Staples, owned by private equity firm Sycamore Partners, began pursuing a deal with ODP in early 2021, first for the entire company and then targeting its consumer business. While Staples was still openly interested in the consumer business, ODP undertook a plan to divide itself into two independent publicly traded companies.
ODP then put that plan on ice in 2022 after receiving another offer from an unnamed suitor. After contemplating that offer and Sycamore’s, it decided to stay the current path as a whole company, with the difficult macro environment cited as the reason for not splitting.
May 5, 2021
ODP Corporation plans to split itself up into two independent, publicly traded companies. One would house the Office Depot and Office Max retail units, the other the company’s distribution and B2B contracting businesses. ODP said the move would create flexibility, focus and value for shareholders.
The announcement came after months of pursuit by rival Staples and its private equity owner Sycamore Partners. Sycamore has made an offer for some ODP assets already, but the latter said the offer came without a price or any acceptance of regulatory risk for getting a merger through antitrust authorities.
ODP expects to complete the separation in the first half of 2022.
May 4, 2021
Gap Inc. sale of Intermix
Intermix was a two-decade old New York City boutique when Gap Inc. acquired it in 2012; the upscale retailer now runs 31 stores and an e-commerce business. But, despite some consistencies of style, Intermix, which sells other name brands, never really fit neatly in Gap’s portfolio. Nor did it likely make much money, according to Wells Fargo analyst Ike Boruchow.
In fact, Intermix was “a different model and thus a distraction,” according to a March client note from MKM Partners Managing Director Roxanne Meyer, who also applauded Gap Inc. executives for reviewing their options. On May 4, the company announced private equity firm Altamont Capital Partners will buy the business — e-commerce, store operations, everything — for an undisclosed amount. The move comes not long after Gap Inc. also dumped children’s retailer Janie and Jack, acquired just two years ago. The executive team at the conglomerate has made clear that all its brands must prove their worth — and that includes namesake and former icon Gap itself.
May 4, 2021
South Moon Under acquisition by Ames Watson
The Maryland-based fashion boutique struck a deal to be acquired by Ames Watson, a long-term private investment vehicle that picked up Lids from Genesco in 2019. Ames Watson indicated that it planned to expand South Moon Under, which has 30 stores. “We see a tremendous opportunity to grow a brand with high recognition into a national store with a local approach,” Lawrence Berger, co-founder and partner with Ames Watson, said in a press release.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
May 3, 2021
Food52 acquisition of Dansk
Food52 in early May announced it acquired housewares brand Dansk from Lenox Corporation for an undisclosed amount. The company, at the time, said it has plans to revitalize the brand for an official relaunch in early 2022.
Food52 has brought on Christine Muhlke — who comes with experience from Bon Appétit, The New York Times Magazine and Bureau X food consultancy — to lead the relaunch. The company plans to preserve Dansk’s identity, which has become known for its Scandinavian design elements.
For a few years now, VF Corp. has been shuffling its portfolio in order to focus on retail, keeping its Vans, The North Face and Timberland brands, and new acquisition Supreme, among others, while selling off its Lee and Wrangler denim brands and other businesses. An effort to unload nine occupational workwear labels began a little over a year ago, and in April the company said it found a buyer in holding company Redwood Capital Investments.
The brands involved are Red Kap, VF Solutions, Bulwark, Workrite, Walls, Terra, Kodiak, Work Authority and Horace Small; the sale doesn’t include Dickies or Timberland PRO. Terms of the deal, including the price, weren’t disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of fiscal 2022, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
April 21, 2021
Affirm's acquisition of Returnly
Affirm announced the completed acquisition of Returnly on May 3. “With Returnly, Affirm addresses the full shopping journey by enabling seamless return experiences that drive loyalty and satisfaction,” Affirm CEO Max Levchin said in a statement.
Buy now, pay later company Affirm in April entered into an agreement to acquire Returnly, a returns payment platform, for about $300 million. Affirm in 2019 invested in Returnly, which gives eligible consumers the ability to receive an instant merchant credit upon initiating a return. Returnly currently serves more than 1,800 merchants and has been used by over 8 million shoppers. The deal is expected to close by the end of June.
April 16, 2021
Signet Jewelers' acquisition of Rocksbox
Signet Jewelers acquired Rocksbox, a jewelry rental subscription platform, for an undisclosed amount, making inroads on its recently announced “Inspiring Brilliance growth strategy.” Rocksbox, founded in 2012, is an online retail and rental service, as subscribers can return merchandise after a time, with shipping free both ways, or opt to buy it. Rocksbox CEO and founder Meaghan Rose, a former business consultant, will remain with the company.
The move fits with Signet’s goals of boosting e-commerce, expanding its existing services (including repair, warranty services and piercings) and introducing new services. At the moment, the retailer runs a largely mall-based fleet of 2,800 stores, which operate under the banners Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared, H.Samuel, Ernest Jones, Peoples, Piercing Pagoda and James Allen.
April 12, 2021
Digital Brands Group IPO
Digital Brands, founded in 2013 (originally as “Denim .LA”), aims to make an advantage out of the long-time fragmentation of the apparel and fashion markets. The company, led by CEO John Hilburn Davis, is quickly rolling up brands as it seeks scale and a portfolio that it can use to cross-sell to its customers. It owns the Bailey 44, Ace Studios, DSTLD and the Harper & Jones and Stateside apparel brands.
Its main acquisition targets are mismanaged legacy brands, strong brands that do not have capital to grow and wholesale brands struggling with their e-commerce transitions. In an interview with Retail Dive, Davis said: “If Nordstrom and VF Corp had a baby, we would be the baby.” In other words, it wants to be a style nexus like a department store but to own all the brands it sells.
The company has a history of losses and just months after closing its $10 million IPO was listed by S&P Global Market Intelligence as among the most vulnerable publicly traded retailers. Davis told Retail Dive in August that the Stateside acquisition was cash flow positive while a new equity line of credit would help it clean up its balance sheet.
April 9, 2021
Honest Co. IPO
The Honest Co. debuted on the stock market Wednesday, selling 25.8 million shares for $16 each, close to the high-end of its initial price range. The DTC brand raised $413 million from the IPO, and was valued at $1.45 billion at the time of the IPO. On the first day of trading, shares of the company closed at $23.
A couple of weeks after filing for an IPO, the Honest Co. has added more details about its bid to go public. The company, together with its selling stockholders, will offer 25.8 million shares and the option to purchase an additional 3.9 million, with an initial price of between $14 and $17 per share, according to a filing with the SEC. The IPO is expected to raise $504 million at the high-end of the range, assuming the additional 3.9 million shares are purchased, but Honest Co. will pocket about $110 million of that since it is only offering 6.5 million of the shares. The deal values the Honest Co. at up to $1.5 billion.
With the pandemic fueling a surge in health and wellness products, The Honest Co. filed for an IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission in early April, with a placeholder IPO target of $100 million. While revenue in 2020 rose 27.6% year over year, reaching $300.5 million, the company noted that it has yet to reach profitability. Net loss in 2020, however, narrowed by 53.5% to $14.5 million. Growth plans include expanding in Canada, Europe and Asia, and working with both retailers and third-party e-commerce platforms. In 2020, more than half of the company’s revenue came from just three retailers: Target, Amazon and Costco.
March 5, 2021
HBC, Insight Partners spinoff of Saks e-commerce
In a move meant to capitalize on the Saks Fifth Avenue brand and partake of rising online sales of luxury goods, private equity firm Insight Partners invested $500 million to help owner HBC spin off the department store’s e-commerce business into a separate entity dubbed “Saks.” HBC will retain full control of the brick-and-mortar business, whose 40 stores will operate separately as “SFA.”
The move appears to be largely financially motivated, as HBC said the deal (valued at $2 billion with Insight taking a minority stake) allows it “to unlock significant value within our company’s assets.” Customers will experience both as a single brand, “Saks Fifth Avenue,” but it’s unclear how the bifurcation could affect operations and customer experience. Plans are for Saks to develop a marketplace, a thorny issue for a luxury player, given the proliferation of fakes on such platforms.
March 3, 2021
Michaels' acquisition by Apollo Global Management
Apollo Global Management completed its $5 billion acquisition of Michaels on Thursday, according to a company press release, officially making Michaels a privately-held subsidiary of Apollo. Michaels’ stock will cease to trade on the stock exchange as a result.
Private equity firm Apollo Global Management plans to secure long-term debt to finance its proposed takeover of Michaels, which has seen sales of crafts materials, puzzles and games surge with people stuck at home during the pandemic. The retailer’s board has unanimously endorsed the $5 billion offer and has 25 days to find a better one. But competition is stiff in this space, and Michaels requires further improvements to its operations, including its stores, making the debt a potential burden, according to GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders. High levels of debt and steep management fees under private equity ownership have previously interfered with many retail turnovers, leading several to the bankruptcy court.
March 3, 2021
On March 26, ThredUp started trading at above $18, higher than its IPO price of $14, which was already at the high end of its range. Shares rose nearly 43% to $20 by the close of trading. The company sold 12 million shares to raise $168 million.
On March 18 the company announced in a press release that it will offer 12 million shares of Class A common stock. The initial public offering price is expected to be between $12 to $14 per share.
Secondhand apparel platform ThredUp announced it filed an S-1 with the SEC and listed the size of the offering as $100 million. The company applied to list on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol TDUP, and underwriters include Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. According to a company-issued report in 2020, the resale market is forecast to reach $44 billion by 2029, with 52% of consumers expected to spend more on secondhand fashion. ThredUp, which was founded in 2009, had 1.24 million active buyers and 428,000 active sellers at the time of its filing.
Feb. 23, 2021
Estée Lauder's increased stake in Deciem
Estée Lauder announced it would pay $1 billion for a controlling stake in beauty company Deciem in February, upping its ownership from 29% to 76%. Estée Lauder said it would purchase the remaining interest in Deciem after three years, with the price determined by Deciem’s financial performance. The deal values Deciem at $2.2 billion, according to the companies.
Estée Lauder first invested in the company, known for its skincare brand, The Ordinary, in 2017. For the past year, Deciem’s six brands recorded total net sales of $460 million. The deal is expected to close by the end of June.
Feb. 16, 2021
Joann’s $100 million initial public offering could ultimately end up much larger than that. It comes as the crafting retailer and its private equity owners look to cash in on increased interest in sewing and crafts during the pandemic (not to mention a robust stock market). Bloomberg and Morning Consult data cited by Joann in its IPO papers shows 30% of Americans were sewing or repairing clothes during the pandemic. Joann estimates it has about a third of the sewing market, making it a leader in the category.
After the deal, Joann would still be majority-owned by Leonard Green & Partners and remain heavily indebted.
Feb. 4, 2021
Walmart's acquisition of Thunder's intellectual property
Walmart acquired the technology and intellectual property behind Thunder — an ad-tech solution focused on creative automation. The tech is part of a new self-serve display advertising platform the retailer plans to roll out later in 2021. The acquisition followed a revamp of Walmart’s media network, including a name change from Walmart Media Group to Walmart Connect. The retailer is strategizing to become a “top ten advertising platform.”
Jan. 11, 2021
Staples' acquisition offer to Office Depot
June 21, 2022
ODP Corp opted not to sell its consumer business, which includes the Office Depot and OfficeMax banners. It also opted not to separate out its consumer business into its own stand-alone company.
Staples, owned by private equity firm Sycamore Partners, began pursuing a deal with ODP in early 2021, first for the entire company and then targeting its consumer business. While Staples was still openly interested in the consumer business, ODP undertook a plan to divide itself into two independent publicly traded companies.
ODP then put that plan on ice in 2022 after receiving another offer from an unnamed suitor. After contemplating that offer and Sycamore’s, it decided to stay the current path as a whole company, with the difficult macro environment cited as the reason for not splitting.
June 4, 2021
The parent of Staples has made a $1 billion proposal to buy the consumer business of ODP Corporation that would include the Office Depot and OfficeMax retail business, according to a press release. ODP acknowledged that it has received Staples’ new offer and is “carefully reviewing” it. In its letter to ODP, Staples signaled that it was prepared to bypass ODP’s board with an offer to stockholders “unless our negotiations for a consensual alternative transaction as proposed herein are successful.”
March 31, 2021
Staples said in a press release it is exploring “all alternatives” to buy all or select ODP assets. Potential assets include ODP’s retail and consumer-facing business, its business operations in Canada “and certain other assets.” Staples will no longer launch a tender offer for ODP’s common shares this month, but the retailer is still working with the Federal Trade Commission and the Canadian Competition Bureau to get clearance for a transaction, and hinted it may resort to a tender offer again in the future.
Jan. 11, 2021
This deal, a reprise of two previously failed attempts by these two office supplies retailers to merge, remains in flux, as Office Depot has rebuffed the $2.1 billion takeover offer from Sycamore Partners-owned Staples. Office Depot cited concerns that the Federal Trade Commission could once again frown upon them combining, though the company outlined ways things could go forward, including a joint venture or an acquisition limited to Office Depot’s consumer-facing operations.
Jan. 1, 2021
Amazon's acquisition of Selz
After leaving this space five years ago and allowing firms like Shopify to dominate it, Amazon is now backtracking. The company acquired Selz in January, though Amazon did not provide a specific date for the acquisition. Selz is a small Australian startup that, like Shopify, provides digital turnkey tools for smaller retailers to easily get into e-commerce. With so many consumers leery of shopping indoors, that became a must even for small and local shops during the pandemic, and all signs indicate that many customers will continue to expect to be able to order online even from mom and pops.