Consumers are increasingly demanding, and e-commerce providers have more information than ever to meet the demands. Retailers are looking for ways to improve convenience and add more personalized experiences for customers. As a result, strategic buyers and private equity firms are turning to M&A.
L Catterton has agreed to buy pool supplies company Leslie’s Holdings Inc. from CVC Capital Partners in January 2017. GIC, an investment firm and sovereign wealth fund in Singapore, is also investing alongside L Catterton.
Leslie’s, based in Phoenix and founded in 1963, sells pool equipment such as covers, ladders and filters. According to L Catterton, Leslie’s “provides best-in-class, personalized services, including professional on-site installation and repairs.” Leslie’s plans to grow geographically, while improving customer service. In addition to nearly 900 retail stores, Leslie’s sells through e-commerce sites including IntheSwim.com.
In November 2016, Bain Capital Private Equity and Bow Street LLC agreed to acquire online diamond ring seller Blue Nile LLC for $500 million. Blue Nile, based in Seattle, sells engagement and wedding rings online. The company tries to make it easier for customers to buy jewelry on the Internet. For example, Blue Nile’s website features an education section that explains diamond cuts, shapes and carat weights. The company even sells ring sizers. Blue Nile labels itself as the “smartest, easiest, and most pressure free way for consumers to buy a diamond.”
Also in 2016, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBY) bought PersonalizationMall.com for $190 million. Based in Burr Ridge, Illinois, the target offers digital printing and engraving on products that range from jewelry to pet accessories. Bed Bath says the acquisition gives the company an opportunity to add differentiated customized products, while expanding e-commerce services.