Alantra advises on landmark JD Sports deal

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Birmingham-based corporate finance advisory firm Alantra has advised premium haircare brand Hairburst on its sale to JD Sports.

The acquisition represents JD Sports’ first move into the beauty market, with plans to turn Hairburst into a leading multi-channel beauty company by making further acquisitions of complementary entrepreneurial businesses and leveraging Hairburst’s already strong digital presence.

Founded in 2014 by Jimmy Hill, Henry Gwilliam and Matthew Cragg, Hairburst produces premium haircare and strengthening products including shampoos, vitamins, accessories, and growth and volume serums.

The digitally native brand is hugely popular with millennials and Gen Z consumers with its Instagram pages gaining over 1.5 million followers and leveraging exposure with major beauty influencers. The brand has replicated success through its own website in France, Italy, US, MENA and South East Asia as well as growing through major beauty retailers such as Lookfantastic, Sephora, Holland & Barrett, Boots and Superdrug.

Hill said: “We are very excited to partner with JD for the next stage of our growth. JD have already excelled in capturing the Gen Z market in the sports fashion industry giving us many synergy opportunities. We are very proud to be the first beauty business to partner with JD on their venture into the beauty industry. With our ability to create amazing products and market through social media, supplemented by JD’s consumer connection, financial power and global scale, we see great potential to build the Hairburst brand and acquire other brands within the sector.”

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD said: “We are pleased to have made this initial acquisition in the beauty sector and have been impressed by the capabilities of the management team, who have a strong identity and connection with millennials and Gen Z consumers.”

Matthew Wiseman, partner at Alantra said: “Led by an entrepreneurial, digitally native management team, Hairburst has seen significant growth, largely driven by the health-conscious consumer’s knowledge of high-quality ingredients and investment in their personal health and wellness. Hairburst is thriving in the evolving e-commerce market and maximises the power of influencers and social media.”

Hairburst was advised by Alantra (corporate finance), Sedulo, Pinsent Masons (legal), BDO (financial diligence) and EY (tax). JD Sports was advised by CMS (legal).