DUBLIN-BASED PRIVATE investment firm Broadlake has sold its majority stake in Vita Liberata, an Irish firm that makes organic self-tan.
The firm sold the business to US-based pharmaceutical business Crown Laboratories, which is focused on dermatology and consumer products.
Crown was backed in the deal by US private investment firm Hildred Capital Partners. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
The deal marks the end of Broadlake’s five-year involvement in Vita Liberata. It said that it bought into the company in 2012 in an effort to accelerate the international growth of the business, particularly in North America.
Vita Liberata is best-known for its self-tanning brand, which it bills as organic and non-toxic.
Its self-tanning products, which have been endorsed by celebrities such as actresses Emma Watson and singer Alicia Keys, are sold in retailers across the US and Europe.
The firm, which is based in Ballyclare, Antrim, was founded by former television presenter Alyson Hogg in 2003.
For her work building the company, which now employs more than 40 people, she was previously nominated for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award in the international category.
She will stay in the business as the president of consumer brands for Crown Laboratories.
According to is most recent accounts, Vita Liberata lost just over £600,000 (€674,000) in 2016 and had net liabilities of £1.7 million.
Hogg said that Crown and Hildred “have a genuine understanding of the suncare market and a very impressive vision for the Vita Liberata brand”.
“We are thrilled to partner with them and advance our mission of making self-tanning a viable alternative to sun exposure for all,” she said.
Broadlake chief executive Pete Smyth said that it views Crown “as an ideal partner to support (Vita Liberata) on the next stage of its growth and development”.
Crown Laboratories president and CEO Jeff Bedard said that the deal would complement Crown’s Blue Lizard sunscreen brand and improve its footing in the dermatology market.
The sale marks Broadlake’s second exit from a business in recent months following the sale of Kilkenny-based shower company Merlyn Industries in a huge deal worth almost €70 million.