Byredo (short for By Redolence) has carved out an enviable reputation in the niche fragrance category. Founded in Sweden in 2006 by Ben Gorham, a graduate of the Royal School of Fine Arts in Stockholm, the brand’s first big hit was Bal d’Afrique.

Manzanita Capital, whose stable of brands includes Dipthyque and Malin+Goetz, bought a major stake in 2013. But the private equity firm has been in sell-off mode for the past few years.

In 2018, Manzanita attempted to sell Space NK, the UK-based specialist beauty retailer, and still hasn’t managed to find a buyer. The company had better luck with Eve Lom, the cult UK skincare brand, selling it to Yatsen, the Chinese owner of the Perfect Diary, Little Ondine and Galenic brands.

 In 2020, Manzanita also sold Lipstick Queen to Forma Brands, formerly Morphe Holdings. The cult brand was launched in 2006 by Australian cosmetics entrepreneur, Poppy King, and joined its new owner’s portfolio of brands, including Morphe, Morphe 2, Jaclyn Cosmetics and Playa Beauty.

Last September, Byredo was reported to have hired Goldman Sachs, the US multinational investment bank, to scout the market for a potential buyer.

Under Manzanita’s watch, Byredo has expanded its product range to leather goods and makeup. The brand has high hopes for its new colour cosmetics venture, overseen by Lucia Pica, former global creative of makeup and colour design for Chanel.

Byredo’s global turnover is estimated to be 180 million euros (AU$269.1 million). In Australia, the brand is sold through Mecca and is also sold online by Chemist Warehouse and other e-commerce sites.

Last week, Le Figaro, one of France’s leading newspapers, reported that L’Oréal was poised to acquire Byredo, valuing the brand at one billion euros (AU$1.49 billion).

If the deal goes through, it will be L’Oréal’s first major buy under the leadership of Nicolas Hieronimus, who took over from Jean-Paul Agon as the multinational’s CEO in May last year.

The two other niche fragrance brands in L’Oréal’s portfolio are Atelier Cologne and Maison Margiela.

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