10 December 2012
Palamon teams up with Sirius to acquire beauty retail specialist, feelunique.com
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Palamon Capital Partners ("Palamon" or the "Firm"), a pan-European growth investor, led the transaction to acquire a majority interest in beauty e-commerce specialist feelunique.com ("feelunique" or the "Company"), one of Europe's fastest growing on-line beauty retailers. The transaction was agreed at a head-line enterprise value for feelunique of £26 million.
feelunique is a leading on-line retailer of premium products in haircare, skincare, cosmetics and fragrances, selling full-permissioned stock from almost all of the major brands including Dior, Lancôme, Clarins, Guerlain, Yves Saint Laurent, Benefit and Kerastase. The Company has built a strong reputation for its customer service and website editorial content, which is directed by Newby Hands, a beauty journalist and Harper's Bazaar Beauty Director-at-Large. It was founded in 2005 and employs more than 125 staff at its headquarters and logistics centre in the Channel Islands.
Palamon will purchase a majority shareholding from the founders and earlier-stage investors and will provide further capital to support the Company's growth plan. Sirius Equity will invest alongside Palamon in the transaction. Following Palamon's investment, Sirius co-founders Robert Bensoussan will join the Board of the Company as Chairman and Jim Sharp will join the Board as a Non-Executive Director. Mr Bensoussan also is Chairman of L K Bennett, a board member of Interparfums and former investor in and CEO of Jimmy Choo.
Palamon's and Sirius' investment stems from the strong underlying growth in the on-line beauty retail segment driven by the increasing shift in consumer spend to on-line, as occurred in the fashion retail sector. feelunique is also taking significant market share by progressively expanding its product range and increasing loyalty through its customer-centric model. This has driven growth in Company sales by more than 40% per year to more than £30 million of annual revenue.
Dan Mytnik, Partner at Palamon commented: "We are delighted to be investing in feelunique, a high growth business that is ideally placed to benefit from the fast expanding on-line retail beauty sector with its established platform, a strong business model and entrepreneurial management team. We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with founders, Aaron Chatterley and Richard Schiessl, and to welcome Robert Bensoussan and Jim Sharp to the Board. The expertise of Robert and Jim in the luxury branded sector will be invaluable in taking the business to the next level."
Aaron Chatterley, CEO of feelunique, said: "We are excited to have gained the backing of Palamon whose expertise in the on-line retail space convinced us that they would be ideal partners. Given our ambitious growth plans and the size of the opportunity, it was important to partner with a firm that had both the financial resources and a clear vision of how the market will evolve. We now look forward to working closely with our new partners as we turn our vision of expansion into reality."
Robert Bensoussan, newly appointed Chairman of feelunique commented "feelunique has developed an incredibly strong platform through the hard work of Aaron and Richard and their team. We believe there is a very exciting opportunity to develop the business and I am excited to be partnering with Palamon and the management team to help the business fulfil its potential".
Palamon identifies and invests in high growth services businesses across Europe, the majority of which are founder-led and sourced directly by the Firm's strong proprietary deal flow network. Since the Firm's inception in 1999 Palamon's portfolio companies have achieved revenue growth on average of 20% per annum.
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