Reports are circulating that L’Oréal, the world’s largest beauty company, is in the process of acquiring Byredo, the luxury fragrance brand founded in 2006 by Ben Gorham that has since expanded into color cosmetics, leather goods and eyewear.
The brand, which has been backed by family office Manzanita since 2013, has reportedly been considering transaction options since last September, when it reportedly hired Goldman Sachs to consider a deal.
L’Oréal executives did not comment. Manzanita declined to comment, saying he does not comment on media speculation. Gorham could not be reached for comment.
Gorham acknowledged in an interview last year with Beauty Inc that the brand was exploring its options. “I partnered with Manzanita about 10 years ago and together we achieved an incredible vision,” he said. “The current discussions have been more about what the next five to 10 years will look like – it’s an exploration, but at the moment nothing more than that.”
In addition to L’Oreal, other companies are believed to be interested in the brand, including Puig and The Estée Lauder Cos.
It is understood that a deal with L’Oreal has yet to be finalized, despite reports to the contrary. If true, the deal would mark the first major acquisition under L’Oreal CEO Nicolas Hieronimus, who took over as helm of the company in May 2021.
Whoever buys it will acquire one of the hottest names in the category of super hot luxury fragrances. Overall, fragrances outperformed all other categories in the US prestige market in 2021, according to The NPD Group, with growth of 49%.
Byredo is said to have sales of over $100 million and has been on a steady growth trajectory. Although Gorham did not address the acquisition reports during a fireside chat at the WWD Beauty CEO Summit on May 10, he reiterated that he is as invested in his success as he is. 17 years ago when he founded it. “I think it has to do with being a perfectionist and this idea of perfection, which is also unattainable,” he said. “So that keeps me going.
“I’m very interested in what the next chapter is,” he continued, “and the challenges we as brands and businesses face as we move forward.”