A Boston-based private investment firm that invests exclusively in the consumer industry in the middle market, Yellow Wood Partners LLC has signed a definitive agreement with Unilever to acquire its beauty and personal care brand, Suave, in North America.
Suave was one of the first brands in the 1930s to bring salon-quality hair care to the general public. The Suave brand sells products for women, men and kids in mass retailers and e-commerce platforms. The brand’s products include hair and body products including shampoos, conditioners, treatments and serums, styling products, body wash, antiperspirants and deodorants, and skin care.
Yellow Wood’s Consumer Operating DNA investment and operating strategy is based on utilizing the firm’s functional operating resources to help maximize brand performance by driving organic growth and increasing operating efficiencies while acquiring additional brands into a limited number of platform companies in its concentrated investment portfolio.
Yellow Wood’s diverse portfolio of consumer brands includes leading global footcare brands Dr. Scholl’s and Scholl, which Yellow Wood reunited as one entity after 30+ years of separate ownership and now combined generates annual retail sales exceeding $700 million. The firm’s portfolio also includes Real Techniques and EcoTools, self-tanning brands Isle of Paradise, Tanologist and Tan-Luxe, and skincare brands Freeman Beauty and the recently launched BYOMA as well as the sexual wellness brands PlusOne and Deia, beauty brand Plum Beauty and personal care brand Clio.
“We are excited to have created a strong working relationship with Unilever in this transaction. Yellow Wood’s intense focus on investing in and operating consumer brands led us to purchase the iconic Suave brand in North America from Unilever. Suave is ubiquitously recognized for its long history of providing accessible high-quality beauty products to American consumers dating to the 1930s and we are excited to add it to our portfolio of investments. We especially want to thank Unilever for their collaboration as we move forward to completing this carveout. We believe our extensive experience with divestitures of large and small brands from multi-national consumer branded companies such as Bayer and Reckitt will help us successfully transition and grow Suave as a focused brand in the Yellow Wood portfolio,’ said Dana Schmaltz, Partner of Yellow Wood Partners.
Tad Yanagi, Partner of Yellow Wood Partners, added: “We look forward to bringing a significantly increased level of brand investment as well as operational focus to leverage Suave’s high brand recognition and value proposition to major retailers and consumers in North America. Working with Unilever allowed us to formulate a transition plan to build a more focused stand-alone company as we have done in the past with other carve outs from multinational CPG companies. Our Consumer Operating DNA strategy allowed us to develop a sourcing and distribution network which we believe will deliver exceptional customer experience. We look forward to working with our retail and ecommerce partners in an effort to drive the growth of the brand through continued strong product innovation and build on the success of the Suave brand that consumers have loved for over 85 years.”
Yellow Wood recently completed its first investment from Fund III with the formation of sexual wellness platform Beacon Wellness Brands, which markets and sells sexual wellness devices under the PlusOne® and Deia brands. The PlusOne brand is the leading brand in the retail channel, selling its products through retailers including, Target, Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens. Beacon Wellness also has a personal care division and manufactures facial skincare and grooming products sold under the Plum Beauty™ and Clio® brands.