Posts tagged with "Investors"

Bono-backed Beautycounter is bringing its clean makeup to the masses at Sephora

June 23, 2020

On August 7, Beautycounter—a beauty brand with a much-hyped “Never List” of 1,800 ingredients that are not used in the production of its clean products—is launching some of its most popular confections at the stores of makeup retail giant Sephora in a bid to bring its clean mission to the masses.

The products will hit Sephora’s website even sooner, on July 7, for a limited time only, CNBC reports.  “It’s an opportunity to really validate the movement for clean,” CEO Gregg Renfrew told the cable news outlet in a phone interview, adding, “We have an army of advocates, and we want more voices to our movement.”

For LVMH-owned Sephora, the partnership advances its commitment to stocking its shelves with more clean beauty products, building on the trend toward using only safe and sustainable personal-care products. Beautycounter’s merchandise will be featured online on Sephora’s “Clean Makeup” page, alongside brands such as Kosas and Supergoop.

“We also know our clients continue to seek high-performing, clean beauty products,” Artemis Patrick, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at Sephora, said in a statement.

Beautycounter’s business has been unconventional from the start — in that it eschewed the first-floor makeup counters of traditional department stores in favor of a model more akin to the cosmetics giant Avon.

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, it launched as a direct-to-consumer business in 2013, selling through its own website and web of consultants—of which it has more than 60,000 today. It was first founded by Renfrew in 2011.

Many of these consultants are so-called micro-influencers, according to Renfrew, and they tout Beautycounter’s merchandise through their social media accounts with thousands of followers, or over virtual Zoom gatherings. They receive up to 35% commission on their retail volumes, she said. And many of the consultants will actually build out their own teams and sell together, Renfrew added.

According to CNBC, Beautycounter currently has three boutiques—in Denver, in New York City, and a seasonal pop-up in Nantucket— with another set to open in Los Angeles later this year.

Beautycounter has raised $106.9 million to date, according to PitchBook. The privately held company, whose roster of investors includes the U2 frontman Bono and the private-equity firm TPG, was most recently valued at about $400 million.

Research contact: @CNBC

Scores of companies back away from Saudi business over Khashoggi

October 25, 2018

A number of businesses and investors are backing away from doing business with Saudi Arabia until more answers are provided on the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whom Turkish officials believe was murdered inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

According to an October 23 report by Axios, many of the world’s largest prospective financial deals involve Saudi Arabia and are predicated on trust in Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) as a reformer. Meanwhile, there is speculation that MBS was personally involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance.

In the three weeks since Khashoggi’s disappearance, several companies and individuals have pulled out of Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative (FII), a massive conference nicknamed “Davos in the Desert.” The meeting is being hosted by MBS and the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund from October 23-25 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh.

The conference is described by The New York Times as “an extravagant embodiment of Crown Prince Mohammed’s dream to modernize Saudi Arabia and wean it off its reliance on oil by 2030.

Indeed, the Times reported, on the first day of the meeting, MBS presented a blueprint for Neom, a $500 billion planned city that would rise from the desert as a futuristic Zanadu of high-tech jobs and robot workers.

Unfortunately, fewer investors than planned will be on hand to support that vision. According to Axios, the following business, financial, and government invitees have pulled out (in chronological order):

And the list goes on, including about three dozen more high-profile names—among them, J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, Ford Chairman Bill Ford, MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga, Sotheby CEO Tad Smith, HSBC CEO John Flint, Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam, Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde, President of the New York Stock Exchange Stacey Cunningham, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, U.K. Trade Secretary Liam Fox, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, and Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra.

In addition, several major Saudi supporters who are based in the United States and Europe have cut ties with the Kingdom:

  • Richard Branson, billionaire entrepreneur and founder of Virgin Group, announced on October 18 that he would suspend his directorships of two Saudi tourism projects and is suspending talks of a $1 billion investmentwith the country, saying: “What has reportedly happened in Turkey around the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, if proved true, would clearly change the ability of any of us in the West to do business with the Saudi Government.”
  • Ernest Moniz, former energy secretary under President Obama, is suspending his involvement advising Saudi Arabia on its $500 billion smart city project.
  • Neelie Kroes, a Neom board member and former vice president of the European Commission, said she would suspend her role in the project until more is known.

The conference already has started, with fewer speakers scheduled to be heard.

Research contact: zach.basu@axios.com

Pope convenes Big Oil producers and investors to talk climate change

June 4, 2018

Pope Francis is hosting a gathering this week at the Vatican with executives of major oil producers and investment firms to discuss how their organizations can address climate change, Axios reported exclusively on June 1.

Three years ago, Pope Francis wrote his encyclical — a papal letter sent to all bishops of the Roman Catholic Church — on the importance of addressing climate change, a first in the church’s history.

Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in June 2017, the meeting convened by the Pope promises to send a significant signal that the industry still intends to work with world leaders on global warming.

Among those who already have promised to attend are the following:

  • Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager;
  • Bob Dudley, CEO of BP;
  • Multiple sources said ExxonMobil would be represented, although a company spokesman was unable to confirm that to Axios;
  • Eldar Sætre, CEO of Equinor, an oil and energy producer partially owned by the Norwegian government (formerly Statoil);
  • Ernest Moniz, former U.S. Energy Secretary under then-President Barack Obama; and
  • Lord John Browne, former CEO of BP and current executive chairman of L1 Energy, an oil and gas investment firm.

The focus of the gathering, according to Axios, will be similar to that of the encyclical (“On Care For Our Common Home”)—with an emphasis on the energy transition of a “shared home.”

The news outlet notes that, while it surely will be a momentous and symbolic meeting, “it’s still just a meeting.” To what degree the Vatican gathering will prompt change and new developments remains a big question mark.

A 2018 poll by Gallup found that, although the POTUS is “all out” on climate change, the American public is “all in.” Fully 62% of U.S. adults contacted said that the government is doing too little about the environment—representing the highest percentage since 2006. The pollsters noted that the majority of Americans have prioritized the environment, even if it limits economic growth.

Research contact: datainquiry@gallup.com