Skin-care brand Elemis taps Jefferies for sale 

British luxury skin-care brand Elemis has tapped investment bank Jefferies Group to explore a sale of the business, sources familiar with the situation tell CNBC.

Elemis has roughly $50 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, the sources said, asking not to be named because the information is confidential.

Its private equity owner L Catterton told CNBC it does not comment on rumors or speculation. Jefferies also declined to comment.

The upscale brand is the latest skin-care company to put itself up for sale, taking advantage of increased interest and growing sales in the industry. Millennials are now aging and concerned about wrinkles, shifting their focus away from color cosmetics toward skin care. This trend fits with a deeper interest in all forms of wellness, whether it be fitness, diet or beauty.

“One of the drivers of the growth in color cosmetics was young millennials teaching their mothers about color cosmetics — mothers didn’t grow up in the age of YouTube, strobing and contouring,” said Andrew Shore, a managing director at investment bank Moelis.

“Now, early adopters to color cosmetics are coming of age and their mothers are teaching them about skincare.”

The $5.6 billion skin-care industry last year grew 9 percent, according to market researcher The NPD Group, while sales of makeup grew 6 percent.

Elemis distinguishes itself from its niche competitors both by its comparatively larger size and unique sales distribution. The cult favorite sells in airports and on cruises, where it hopes to create new customers as well as serve existing ones.

Nontraditional ways of selling products have become increasingly important as department stores and drugstores lose foot traffic, making spontaneous purchases harder to come by. Leading beauty care retailer Sephora, meantime, is ceding more space to its private label products and brands that are owned by its parent, LVMH, such as Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty cosmetics.

Elemis is also available in more than 1,600 spas, salons and stores and on websites, as well as on shopping network QVC. It recently began selling in Ulta Beauty in the U.S., which it will use as its launching pad into the region.

Its products, including Superfood Facial Oil and Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, claim to combine laboratory-made ingredients with plant-based botanicals.

Elemis was acquired by L Catterton’s predecessor, Catterton, in 2015, when the private equity firm acquired Elemis’ parent, Steiner Leisure, for $925 million, including debt.

A sale would be the latest in a string of deal activity in the industry. Colgate-Palmolive acquired professional skin-care brands PCA Skin and EltaMD last year, and Procter & Gamble acquired prestige skin-care label First Aid Beauty earlier this year.

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