NEW YORK, United States — Drunk Elephant, the brand known for its clean skincare products and Instagram-friendly packaging, is in the early stages of exploring a sale, founder Tiffany Masterson told BoF Thursday.
“We have signed with bankers to explore the possibility of a sale,” she said. “We have no idea if, when, what, but we want to learn more.”
The brand is working with investment banks Financo LLC and Moelis & Co. to explore a sale this year. This comes almost two years after Drunk Elephant, which Masterson founded in 2012, secured a minority investment from private equity firm VMG and brought on two seasoned beauty executives to steer the company into its next phase. Tim Warner, chief executive of Drunk Elephant, joined the company in 2017 after running Urban Decay for L’Oréal and Benefit Cosmetics for LVMH and Lucia Perdomo-Ruehlemann, chief marketing officer at Drunk Elephant, comes from Fresh.
The brand has been fending off offers for sales since the end of 2016, when The Estee Lauder Companies was floated as a potential buyer. At the time, Drunk Elephant was said to be doing just $25 million in retail. Since then, sales have more than quadrupled, to $150 million last year. Industry experts predict that a sale could fetch upwards of $1 billion.
The potential sale was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
Sephora is Drunk Elephant’s exclusive retailer in the US and Canada, and in October, the brand entered the UK in SpaceNK and Cult Beauty. In November, the line launched at Sephora stores in Southeast Asia.
“I've never seen anything move and take off so quickly,” Warner said in an October interview. “I've been with other brands that have definitely taken market share and caught everyone by surprise — but this is super fast.”