L Catterton: A Blend of Consumer Insight and Luxury Brand Expertise

1 minutes reading time
Published 22 Dec 2023
Reviewed by: Kasper Karlsson
Updated 22 Mar 2024

L Catterton is a prominent global private equity firm specializing in consumer investments. Founded through the partnership of Catterton Partners, LVMH, and Groupe Arnault, L Catterton combines a deep understanding of consumer markets with the expertise and extensive network of the luxury goods sector. As of December 2023, managing approximately $34 billion in assets, dedicated to growing middle market companies and emerging high-growth enterprises, L Catterton stands as one of the largest consumer-focused private equity groups in the world.

Key Insights

  • Origins and evolution: L Catterton, originating as Catterton Partners in 1989, significantly evolved with its 2016 partnership with LVMH and Groupe Arnault. This merger combined Catterton's proficiency in consumer brand investments with LVMH's luxury brand expertise.

  • Investment approach: The firm's investment philosophy prioritizes collaboration with robust management teams, focusing on mid-market companies. L Catterton emphasizes a hands-on strategy, offering not only financial support but also comprehensive strategic, operational, and management guidance.

  • Synergy with LVMH and Bernard Arnault's influence: Bernard Arnault's role, as the chairman of LVMH, has been crucial in directing L Catterton's investment strategies, particularly in brand expansion and market penetration. This mirrors Arnault's philosophy in the luxury sector, focusing on sustainable growth and brand longevity.

History and Formation

The roots of L Catterton can be traced back to the formation of Catterton Partners in 1989, a firm focused on private equity investments in consumer brands. The significant milestone in its evolution was the partnership in 2016 with LVMH and Groupe Arnault, a holding company of Bernard Arnault. This alliance brought together Catterton's experience in consumer investing with LVMH’s luxury brand expertise and Groupe Arnault's global network and influence.

Investment Philosophy

L Catterton's investment philosophy centers around partnering with strong management teams to support and guide companies in achieving their full potential. The firm believes in a hands-on approach, providing not just capital, but also strategic, operational, and management expertise. They focus on middle-market companies and look for opportunities where they can leverage their deep consumer insight and global experience.

Portfolio and Impact

The firm has a diverse portfolio, including brands across various consumer segments such as retail, health and wellness, food and beverage, and fashion. Some of their notable investments include Peloton, the at-home fitness company; Vroom, an online car retailer; and Honest Company, the eco-friendly consumer goods brand founded by Jessica Alba.

L Catterton has a reputation for transforming its portfolio companies into market leaders. Their strategy often involves bringing successful brands into new markets, leveraging their global network and deep understanding of local cultures and consumer behaviors.

Recent Investments and Acquisitions

L Catterton, since its inception in 1989, has made impactful investments and acquisitions, particularly in the fashion, beauty, and consumer sectors. Here are some of the most significant ones:

  • Birkenstock (Feb. 2021): Acquired a majority stake in the renowned sandal maker.

  • Savage x Fenty (Feb. 2021): Led a $115 million Series B fundraising round in Rihanna's lingerie company.

  • Function of Beauty (Dec. 2020): A $150 million strategic minority investment in a customizable hair, skin, and body care products company.

  • Everlane (Sept. 2020): Led an $85 million funding round for the San Francisco-based clothing retailer.

  • ThirdLove (Feb. 2019): Closed a $55 million funding round in the lingerie startup.

  • OWNDAYS (Nov. 2018): Invested in the Japanese eyewear company, later selling its stake in August 2022.

  • SECOO (Jul. 2018): Along with JD.com, invested $175 million in Asia's largest online upscale products and services platform.

  • Honest Company (Jun. 2018): A $200 million strategic minority investment in Jessica Alba’s co-founded company.

Connection with LVMH and Bernard Arnault

The influence of Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of LVMH, has been pivotal in shaping L Catterton's trajectory. Many of L Catterton's investments are centered around taking successful brands and introducing them to new markets, utilizing LVMH’s extensive global network and keen understanding of consumer behavior. This approach echoes Arnault's philosophy of brand building in the luxury sector, where the focus is on sustainable growth and brand longevity rather than quick financial turnarounds.

In summary, the connection between L Catterton, LVMH, and Bernard Arnault has established the firm as a formidable player in the private equity sector, especially in areas aligned with the evolving consumer landscape and sustainable practices. This alliance, leveraging combined expertise and global reach, has positioned L Catterton at the forefront of consumer-focused private equity, adept at navigating and shaping the future of the consumer markets.

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