Buyout of one of America's oldest companies

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

The private equity buyout of Caswell-Massey, one of America's
oldest companies, suggests that there is still life in the luxury
cosmetics market.

The Equitium Group, which targets underperforming beauty firms, acquired Caswell-Massey last week from BFMA Holdings for an undisclosed sum. Established in 1752, Caswell-Massey is believed to be one of America's oldest companies. It produces luxury soaps, lotions and fragrances, which are sold through retail stores, the internet and catalogs. The Equitium Group's managing partner Amir Amir said the investment firm would exploit the Caswell-Massey's rich heritage and open it up to new opportunities. "It perfectly fits our investment focus on backing personal care and luxury companies that have strong growth potential,"​ added Amir. The investment firm buys struggling small and medium sized beauty companies and attempts to restore their health by closely supporting their management teams. Caswell-Massey has had mixed fortunes since the days when George Washington splashed himself with the firm's Number Six Cologne and General Custer used its Tilbury toothbrush in preparation for the Battle of the Little Bighorn. At the end of the 20th​ century Caswell-Massey displayed the frailty associated with old age and came dangerously close to liquidation on several occasions in the 80s and 90s. A crowded market, lack of innovation and an ill-advised foray into mass market retail contributed to the firm's misfortunes. The millennium marked a return to profitability with the company narrowing its focus and remarketed its products to give them an old fashioned feel.

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