Look Beauty Taps Duff & Phelps to Explore Investment Options

Look Beauty, the business behind the animal-print sheet masks popular on Instagram, has hired Duff & Phelps to explore investment options.
According to industry sources, Look Beauty has about $75 million in retail sales, and is growing. The company is based in Toronto and handles both private-label and its own lines, which are sold in mass retailers like CVS and Target. All of Look Beauty's products are manufactured in Korea, where it works with about 16 different factory partners. About 80 percent of the business is said to be from Look Boutique brands, like MasqueBar, and 20 percent is from private label.
Allan Lever, Look Beauty chief executive, founder and sole owner, confirmed the company hired Duff & Phelps to explore options. The company was approached for the first time by potential investors and buyers a few years ago, he said, but now that the company has grown significantly, he felt it was time to get an investor to support future growth.
"I'm not looking to retire or not work. I'm looking for a partner strategic or private equity that wants to maintain our culture, wants to maintain our innovation, and let me do what I do best, which is new product development and opening new partners. That's why we're looking for an investment," Lever told WWD.
The business has hired Duff & Phelps to conduct the process. The firm is said to have sent out books to prospective investors in mid-April.
According to Howard Johnson, managing director at Duff & Phelps, the process will be a "fairly broad" one. "Our role is really to find a partner that can help Look Beauty to realize the tremendous growth potential it has both in North America and internationally," Johnson said.
In the past few years, Look Beauty has expanded to more than 46 countries. The company has also deepened its ties with CVS and Target, which make up a significant amount of its business. Later this year, Look Beauty has plans to enter Hong Kong and Australia, according to Lever.
The funding should help Look Beauty expand its product offering as well as its direct-to-consumer business, Lever said. The business already makes about 200 different stockkeeping units, but at the most, retailers carry between 40 and 50 of them — that leaves many that could be sold online directly, or through Amazon, a channel the company has not yet fully developed.
Product wise, Look Beauty intends to move further into cleansers, skin care and K-Beauty through brand Hallyu, which is sold at CVS. That line has a watermelon-oriented product line that is expected to expand.
Private-label beauty has attracted several new entrants lately. Both Dollar General and Saks Off 5th have launched their own makeup lines, and Bain Capital recently invested in Maesa, which makes private-label products for many retailers (including Dollar General).
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