Published On: Sun, Apr 1st, 2018

The Behind the Scenes of The Victoria Beckham Brand

Threadstone Advisors, a boutique investment bank based in New York focused exclusively on the consumer and retail sectors, had the pleasure of advising Victoria Beckham Ltd (VBL) on its recent capital raise. Threadstone, founded in 2012, has a long track record of working with global luxury brands including Rebecca Minkoff and Steven Alan. When the opportunity to pitch for the VBL mandate came about, we jumped at it.
Going back to Fall 2016, we were having a wide-ranging discussion with the chairman of VBL’s board. One topic that came up was the opportunity for VBL to take on outside investment—the company to date had been funded by the founder and a select group of friends and family and had achieved remarkable early successes. A partnership with an outside investor would serve to accelerate the growth of the business and allow Victoria and her team to execute on strategic and growth initiatives with a full head of steam.
Shortly thereafter, we had the opportunity to meet with members of the company’s Board, including Victoria, her husband David, and longtime associate Simon Fuller. We had a long and productive conversation about the business, its growth opportunities, and our ideas on the various alternatives for raising funds. It was clear from the beginning that Victoria was incredibly passionate about the brand she had built and wanted to retain control for the foreseeable future—not at all uncommon amongst founders.
This meeting only added to our excitement about working with Victoria. Victoria launched VBL in 2008 after discovering her passion for design through a number of licensing partnerships. In a short period of time, Victoria has built her brand into a global enterprise with credibility as a true fashion brand. As a founder, a designer and an entrepreneur, Victoria’s level of commitment is as great as we have ever seen. Her desire to design and sell clothes that she loves and wants to wear has truly resonated with her customers and led to great success. She has surrounded herself with an equally impressive team, led by a number of accomplished female executives and designers, to help realize her vision of a global luxury brand.
In an age increasingly focused on gender equality and women’s rights through movements such as #MeToo, Victoria inspires women young and old to pursue their dreams. She has built, from the ground up, a female-led, female-run organization with a huge female audience and customer base. It is abundantly clear that this is not a vanity project or hobby for the former pop star, as some surmised. She lives and breathes VBL, and she is far from resting on her laurels as she tackles this newest challenge.
When we learned that we were selected, we immediately immersed ourselves in the brand. We shared the VBL story with a select group of potential investors—groups were identified for their experience and value-add potential as a partner to Victoria. Given Victoria’s high profile and the desire to minimize the distractions that can come with a fundraising process, we were highly selective in who we reached out to. Victoria met with interested parties at her London home, a private and comfortable setting, to give her the opportunity to better understand how each group could bring value (beyond their check books) to the VBL brand. It was important to connect on both a professional and personal level, as VBL is one of Victoria’s two greatest passions in life—the other, her family, was highlighted when son Brooklyn dropped in ahead of heading to school for the day.
The group that stood out among the conversations was NEO Investment Partners. NEO is a London-based private equity firm specializing in globally scaling luxury brands, which aligned well with Victoria’s objectives. NEO’s prior investments include Tom Dixon, Valextra, and Alain Mikli. NEO and Victoria shared ideas about what could be next for the brand—expansion in Asia, focused growth online, new product offerings, and much more. Ultimately, they grew to understand and agree with each other’s vision and decided to take the next step. A key consideration when taking on a minority investor is making sure each group is happy with their roles and ability to influence, in part, the direction of the business. This played an important part in the negotiation process, along with the customary financial negotiations.
Ultimately, NEO invested £30 million into VBL in November 2017, valuing the brand at £100 million (approximately three times trailing twelve months’ sales). We are so excited to see the continued success of the business and this new partnership as VBL evolves into a leading global luxury lifestyle brand. We are incredibly thankful to have had the opportunity to work with such devoted and talented individuals, both from VBL and NEO, throughout the process and look forward to more exciting mandates like this in the future. 

Credit: Threadstone Advisors

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