Reports are circulating that L’Oréal, the world’s largest beauty company, is said to be 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, is said to have been considering deal options since last September, when it reportedly hired Goldman Sachs to consider a deal.
Executives from L’Oréal had no comment. Manzanita declined to comment, saying it does not comment on media speculation. Gorham could not be reached for comment.
Gorham did acknowledge 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 realized an incredible vision,” he said. “The current discussions have more been about what the next five to 10 years look like — it is an exploration, but right now nothing more than that.”
In addition to L’Oréal, other companies are thought to be looking at the brand, including Puig and The Estée Lauder Cos.
Sources with close knowledge of the deal say that an agreement with L’Oréal has not yet been finalized, despite reports to the contrary. If true, the deal would mark the first large acquisition under L’Oréal chief executive officer Nicolas Hieronimus, who took helm of the company in May, 2021.
Whoever does buy it will acquire one of the hottest names in the superhot luxury fragrance category. Overall, fragrance outperformed all other categories in the U.S. prestige market in 2021, according to The NPD Group, with 49 percent growth.
Byredo is said to have sales of more than $100 million and has been on a steady growth trajectory. While Gorham didn’t address acquisition reports during a keynote fireside chat at the WWD Beauty CEO Summit on May 10, he did reiterate he’s as invested in its success as he was 17 years ago when he founded it. “I think it relates to being a perfectionist, and this idea of perfection, which is also unattainable,” he said. “So that has me in forward motion.
“I’m very much interested in what the next chapter is,” he continued, “and the challenges that we as brands and companies face as we move forward.”