VLCC to Acquire Ustraa, India's leading D2C Men's Grooming Brand through a strategic merger

VLCC to Acquire Ustraa, India's leading D2C Men's Grooming Brand through a strategic merger

Jun 09, 2023

Gurgaon (Haryana) [India], June 9: VLCC, India's premium beauty and skincare brand has announced the acquisition of Happily Unmarried Marketing Private Limited (Ustraa) through a combination of secondary buy-out and share swap. This partnership brings together two pioneering home-grown personal care brands - combining Ustraa's leading position in men's grooming range with VLCC's growing skincare products portfolio. Post merger, VLCC will make further investments to accelerate the growth of Ustraa.
Founded in 2015 by Rahul Anand and Rajat Tuli, Ustraa was one of India's first D2C brand focused on men's grooming. Today, 67 per cent of Ustraa's sales come from online channel. The brand has 85+ SKUs across fragrances, hair care, face and beard care and had 2.2mn customers on their own app. Ustraa is backed by marquee investors including InfoEdge, 360 One (formerly IIFL Ventures) and Wipro.
Vikas Gupta, CEO, VLCC said, "We are impressed with Ustraa's leading position in fast growing men's grooming market, especially the D2C channel. Both founders have a deep understanding of the online D2C ecosystem including digital marketing, ecommerce and fast product innovation cycle which has enabled them to scale Ustraa in a short period of time. This acquisition marks VLCC's foray into men's grooming market and our aim is to accelerate Ustraa's growth journey by leveraging VLCC's pan-India offline distribution. In parallel, VLCC's existing product business will benefit from Ustraa's tech and digital expertise to scale up in new age commerce."
"VLCC represents a perfect strategic partner to help us broaden our customer reach, especially in offline retail. VLCC's strong management, well supported by Carlyle globally, brings the resources and sector expertise which can enable us to significantly grow our brand further and expand the range of products. We believe our combined expertise in brand building, sales and marketing and distribution will create faster growth for both brands and we are excited to embark on the journey forward as part of the VLCC family," said Rahul Anand and Rajat Tuli, Founders of Ustraa.
Sanjeev Bikhchandani of InfoEdge added, "At InfoEdge, we have built leading consumer businesses like Naukri and 99acres and have invested in companies like Zomato and Policybazaar where we have been part of their scale up journey since inception. We are bullish about the synergies that can be realized in this VLCC-Ustraa merger for the platform to become a leading consumer business in the beauty and personal care space and look forward to working closely with the management team and Carlyle post-merger. VLCC's focused strategy to scale up their products business using digital channels and high-quality product innovation is in sync with Ustraa's founding principles."
Trilegal and KPMG advised VLCC on the acquisition. EY acted as exclusive financial advisor to HUMPL and its investors.
Ustraa is one of India's largest D2C men's grooming brand owned by Happily Unmarried Private Limited ("HUMPL"). Founded In 2015 by Rahul Anand and Rajat Tuli, Ustraa has scaled its presence across fragrances, haircare, face and beard care and sells 85+ SKUs, exclusively for men. Ustraa has a strong online presence and a growing offline presence in assisted beauty counters supported by a 600+ sales team. The core DNA of the company is constant product innovation with a dedicated In-house R&D team. The company has developed 360 degrees digital marketing capabilities across online marketplaces, own app and social media marketing. Ustraa aims to go deeper in existing product categories with a tech-enabled marketing strategy, increasing offline footprint and driving higher customer retention.
Founded by Vandana Luthra and Mukesh Luthra as a beauty and weight management services centre in 1989, the VLCC group was incorporated in 1996 and is among the first multi-outlet corporate operations in the Skincare, Beauty & Wellness Industry in India. Since inception, the VLCC Group's mission has been to transform lives by making Skincare, Beauty and Wellness accessible to all. In over 34 years of operation, the VLCC brand has become synonymous with Skincare and Beauty in Indian households.
Today, VLCC enjoys a high level of consumer trust and is widely recognized for its comprehensive portfolio of services and products. The VLCC Group's operations currently span 310 locations in 139 cities and 11 countries, including India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, and Kenya, with a staff strength of over 3,000 skilled professionals, including medical doctors, nutritionists, physiotherapists, cosmetologists and wellness counsellors.
Carlyle, a global investment firm with USD 369bn in Assets Under Management, announced a strategic partnership with VLCC through the acquisition of majority stake in the company in Dec 2022. Carlyle's global private equity funds have well-established experience investing in the consumer and retail sectors, as well as consumer tech, including investments in Beautycounter, Every Man Jack, Grand Foods China (McDonald's China franchisee), Golden Goose, Delhivery, among others.
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