Puig to Acquire Byredo

The Spanish fragrance giant is taking a majority stake in the Swedish brand known for its crisp, minimalist branding and gender-free perfumes.

By guest author Robert William from Business of Fashion

Puig is set to acquire Byredo, the Swedish brand known for its crisp, minimalist branding and high-end, gender-neutral perfumes.

While the companies declined to provide financial details of the transaction, recent reports of a potential sale to L’Oréal cited a valuation as high as EUR 1 billion.

Founded by Ben Gorham in 2006, fast-growing Byredo has been at the forefront of the surging niche fragrance market thanks to its products like EUR 140 “Gypsy Water” perfume and EUR 65 “Bibliothèque” candles.

Byredo reported 2021 sales of EUR 119 million (USD 134 million), up 63 % year-on-year and almost double its pre-pandemic turnover of EUR 62 million (USD 70 million) in 2019.

Puig’s move to acquire the brand from Manzanita Capital comes as sales of niche fragrances accelerate, with sales in the super-premium specialist category doubling last year compared with 49 % growth in the wider fragrance market, according to consultancy NPD.

Puig’s perfume portfolio is dominated by prestige fashion fragrances, whose sales have been hit hard by a downturn in international travel and whose bluntly-gendered marketing messages have fallen out of favour with many young consumers.

Recent years have seen Millennial customers in particular gravitate to the sleek branding and gender-neutral options from Byredo, Le Labo, Diptyque and Aesop. Those players lean on evocative names and an emphasis on natural ingredients rather than blockbuster ad campaigns. Puig has previously sought to establish a presence in niche fragrances by acquiring Penhaligon’s and L’Artisan Parfumeur in 2015.

Under Manzanita Capital’s control since 2013, Byredo has focused on direct-to-consumer growth, expanding its e-commerce operation as well as opening more directly-operated retail stores and concessions.

In 2020, the company launched its first foray into colour cosmetics in collaboration with British make-up artist, Isamaya Ffrench. This year, former Chanel beauty creative director Lucia Pica joined the brand full time to help shape the brand’s image in the category.

Manzanita Capital and Gorham will retain minority stakes in Byredo.

Editor’s Note: Due to a technology error, the subject line in a breaking newsletter sent by The Business of Fashion to some subscribers said that Byredo is being acquired by L’Oréal. This is untrue. Byredo is being acquired by Puig. BoF regrets the error.

A previous version of this story also made reference Puig’s portfolio of “licensed” fashion fragrances. That is incorrect. Puig owns, not licenses, most of its brands.

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