Edgewell acquires shaving disruptor Billie for $310m

By Becky Bargh 30-Nov-2021

US subscription shaving brand has shaken up the male-dominated market with its female-first ethos and attractive price point

Billie was founded in 2017 as a shaving brand ‘built for womankind’

Billie, the disruptor shaving and body care brand ‘built for womankind’, has finally found itself a new owner in Edgewell.

The company behind Bulldog Skincare and Hawaiian Tropic announced the completion of the acquisition last night, offering a US$310m cash purchase for the women’s digital-native brand.

The disruptor was founded by Georgina Gooley and Jason Bravman in 2017 as a subscription service to take on the giants in the female razor category, such as Venus and Wilkinson Sword, the latter also owned by Edgewell.

During its four year history, Billie has advocated for fair pricing of women’s personal care items by campaigning against the pink tax, which forces female bathroom products to be sold at inflated prices.

But the road to finding a beauty owner has not been clear cut.

In January 2020, Procter & Gamble – a huge player in the shaving business – said that it would be purchasing the US-based subscription service brand, joining Gillette, Venus and Joy in its portfolio.

But the takeover did not please regulators.

In December the same year, the US Federal Trade Commission intervened, filing a lawsuit against the acquisition, and accusing the multinational of attempting to ‘snuff out’ competition from emerging brands.

By early 2021, the deal was terminated and Billie found itself up for sale once again.

Speaking about its new ownership, Bravman said: “We are very excited to join the Edgewell organisation and look forward to combining our resources and leveraging the Edgewell platform to accelerate growth and expand our retail reach.

“As we begin our expansion into bricks-and-mortar retail in the US, this is the perfect time for this business combination.”

Meanwhile, Gooley said that this was an “exciting moment” for the business as it advances towards being a leader in the women’s beauty market.

“We look forward to combining our disruptive and digital-first approach with Egdewell’s leading platforms, capabilities and channels to drive future growth and meet the evolving needs of our loyal customers,” she added.

The takeover of the business is expected to slightly improve Edgewell’s adjusted cash earnings per share in fiscal 2022.

“We are thrilled to add Billie to our portfolio of brands,” said Rod Little, Edgewell’s President and CEO.

“We are focused on our stated goal of building on our leading position in the women’s shave category and executing on our M&A strategy with discipline and precision, both of which this acquisition accomplishes.”

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He also said Edgewell has been a “strategic supplier” to Billie since its inception, so the move was a “natural evolution” for both companies.

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