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Luxury Goods Maker LVMH Strikes Deal with U.S. Private Equity Firm

January 6, 2016, 7:27 PM UTC
French luxury group LVMH Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault attends the inaugural visit of the French prime minister to the Guerlain production centre "La Ruche" in Chartres, central France, on February 6, 2015. AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANT (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images)
Photograph by Guillaume Souvant — AFP/Getty Images

Catterton Partners, a Connecticut-based private equity firm focused on consumer brands, on Tuesday announced a tie-up with luxury product maker LVMH and major LVMH shareholder Groupe Arnault.

The result is that Catterton and L Capital Partners — an LVMH-affiliated investment group — have merged into a single entity called L Catterton, which is 60% owned by the partners of L Catterton and 40% by LVMH and Groupe Arnault. Catterton managing partners Michael Chu and Scott Dahnke will serve as co-CEOs of the new firm, with Chu focusing on Europe and Asia, and Dahnke overseeing U.S. operations.

LVMH has been a limited partner in Catterton funds since 1998, and also serves on some of its LP advisory boards. The relationship seemed to have evolved over time, with merger talks accelerating after Catterton told LPs that it planned to expand into Europe and Asia during its next fund cycle (the firm already is active in Latin America with a dedicated fund). Europe and Asia are where L Capital is most active, so Catterton felt it made more sense to partner with existing teams on the ground than build their own from scratch.

There will not be a global L Catterton fund but, rather, the combined firm will raise several geographically-focused vehicles (plus continue L Capital’s real estate strategy).

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It also is worth noting that the deal does not give LVMH any preferential rights to L Catterton companies, nor does it allow the company to block transactions. Instead, it will remain a standard 2/20 limited partner in the funds.

Catterton currently is investing out of a $1.68 billion flagship fund raised in 2012, and lists such companies as Noodles & Co., Peloton and NJoy among its portfolio companies.