Gryphon to Acquire Milani Cosmetics

Gryphon to Acquire Milani Cosmetics

Gryphon Investors has agreed to acquire a majority equity interest in Milani Cosmetics from current owners Ralph Bijou and Laurie Minc who will maintain a minority equity interest in the company.

Milani Cosmetics is a “masstige” beauty company that markets its face, lip and eye products under the Milani and Jordana brands. Masstige is a marketing term and is a portmanteau of the words mass and prestige and has been described as “prestige for the masses.” Masstige products are defined as “premium but attainable” and are considered luxury or premium products that have price points between mid-market and super premium.

Milani Cosmetics began with the creation of Jordana Cosmetics in 1986 and grew with the purchase of Milani in 2001.  Milani’s products are available in 75 countries and are sold through retailers including Walmart, Walgreens, Ulta, Target and CVS. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles (

Upon closing of the transaction next month, Michelle Taylor will become interim CEO of Milani Cosmetics. Ms. Taylor is a Gryphon Executive Advisor and has experience as an executive in the cosmetics and beauty industry. She previously held senior leadership positions at Kate Somerville Skincare, Kiehl’s, Lancôme, L’Oréal USA, Chanel, and Elizabeth Arden. “Milani is the ‘masstige’ brand of choice for consumers who seek out innovative, high-quality makeup at affordable prices,” said Ms. Taylor. “That reputation has driven the company’s rapid growth both internationally and domestically, where it was one of the fastest growing mass brands in the US over the past year. Gryphon’s expertise and financial resources will be key as Milani looks to expand its market presence in an ever-changing and keenly competitive landscape.”

The buy of Milani is Gryphon’s first investment in the beauty sector. “Gryphon has long been exploring the $45 billion beauty and personal care space and is excited to commit to the industry,” said Dennis O’Brien, a Partner of Gryphon. “Leveraging Michelle’s deep knowledge of the sector, we believe we have identified a strong growth platform in Milani, one which has a variety of proven and developing sales channels and the opportunity to reach a broad and growing consumer base that has discovered Milani’s quality and is actively seeking out the brand. We look forward to working with Michelle, Ralph, and Laurie to build upon the company’s proven success.”

Gryphon Investors makes leveraged acquisitions and growth investments in middle-market companies. The firm invests from $50 million to $200 million of capital in companies with sales ranging from $100 million to $500 million. Sectors of interest include business services, consumer and retail, automotive, chemical, general manufacturing, healthcare and hotels. Gryphon closed its fourth private equity buyout fund, Gryphon IV, in November 2016 at $1.1 billion, and raised a $100 million captive mezzanine fund, Gryphon Mezzanine Partners, in August 2017. Gryphon Investors is based in San Francisco (

Mr. Bijou will continue with the company as President of Jordana Cosmetics and Laurie Minc will continue with Milani as a Senior Advisor.

Moelis & Company was the financial advisor to Milani and Financo advised Gryphon.

© 2018 Private Equity Professional | May 18, 2018

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