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Reliance retail arm acquires control of Insight Cosmetics

NEW DELHI : Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL) has bought a controlling stake in makeup and personal care brand Insight Cosmetics, said two people aware of the deal, marking the entry of the billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned company into the cosmetic business.

The deal was valued at $10-15 million, one of the people said, requesting anonymity. The person declined to elaborate on the transaction.

Insight Cosmetics was launched by Mumbai-based entrepreneur Dinesh Jain in 2001. The brand claims to have a distribution presence across 20 states and its products are sold at more than 12,000 retail and novelty stores across the country.

The company has more than 350 stock keeping units and primarily sells nail polish, lipstick, mascara, eyeliners, eyeshadows, foundations, concealers, lip gloss and makeup brushes, among products. It also retails its products through over 10 e-commerce portals.

Queries emailed to Insight Cosmetics and RRVL on Saturday morning remained unanswered till press time.

The deal is in line with the strategy of RRVL, the retail venture of Reliance Industries Ltd, to expand its beauty and personal care business, mostly through acquisitions and take on incumbents like Nykaa, Myntra and Purplle in the fast-growing Indian omnichannel market for beauty products. RRVL has set a key focus on brands across apparel, footwear, beauty and personal care categories in the fashion and lifestyle segment, according to industry analysts. These brands will be mainly in the mass premium category.

RRVL is also gearing up to open 400-450 large-format stores to retail the brands acquired. A few in-house labels may also be available at these stores, said another person tracking RRVL’s inorganic strategy.

In May, RRVL was reportedly in advanced stages of talks to buy a controlling stake in a Mumbai-based women’s footwear brand. In March, RRVL bought an 89% stake in Purple Panda Fashions Pvt. Ltd, which owns and operates women-focussed innerwear and loungewear brand Clovia. This was part of Reliance’s strategy to get a stronger foothold in the organized fashion market and follows its investments in a string of homegrown labels such as Abraham & Thakore and Anamika Khanna.

In the past, the company has also acquired Zivame and Amante brands to strengthen its innerwear portfolio.

India has been witnessing a rise in direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands and is estimated to have a $100 billion addressable market by 2025, according to an October 2021 note by Avendus.

Fundraising activity in the broader beauty and personal care segment has surged over the last few months.

For instance, last month, Spanish fashion and fragrance maker Puig SL bought an additional 20% stake in Kama Ayurveda from Lighthouse Advisors India Pvt. Ltd. In June, skincare and wellness brand Wow Skin Science raised a round of primary capital from Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC. In May, Sugar Cosmetics, operated by Vellvette Lifestyle Pvt. Ltd, secured Series D round of funding of $50 million led by US-based private equity fund L Catterton. In March, personal care brand Plum raised $35 million ( 270 crore) as a part of its Series C funding led by growth-stage investor A91 Partners.

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