L Catterton Asia announced on Friday its investment in South Korean eyewear brand Gentle Monster.
Forming an investor consortium with Groupe Arnault, which is owned and controlled by French billionaire Bernard Arnault, the chairman and chief executive of luxury group LVMH Moet Hennessy – the cash injection resulted in minority equity stake in Iicombined, the owner of brand Gentle Monster.
The exact amount has not been disclosed, though media have reported the deal would be worth about 60 billion won ($53.17 million).
“In a time where Gentle Monster is progressing into a global fashion eyewear brand, we are honoured to partner with L Catterton Asia and Groupe Arnault,” said Gentle Monster co-founder and chief executive Kim Hankook.
“We already have a presence in Greater China and America and plan to further expand our footprint into Europe and the Middle East.”
Founded in 2011 by Jay Oh and Hankook Kim, Gentle Monster has become known for its avant-garde eyewear designs and creative retail concept.
With a presence in more than 19 countries and 11 stand-alone stores around the world, each Gentle Monster flagship store has a different design theme.
The Korean eyewear brand is also about to open its first Southeast Asian flagship store in Singapore at Ion Orchard this month.
L Catterton Asia is no stranger to South Korea. Gentle Monster is the third investment for the company in the nation after buying minority stakes in Clio Cosmetics and YG Entertainment.
“Gentle Monster is already outselling more established competitors, delivering retail productivity on par with or better than many luxury brands,” said Chairman and Managing Partner of L Catterton Asia, Ravi Thakran.
KK“Given the relatively low penetration rates for sunglasses across most Asian markets, and Gentle Monster’s success in addressing the unique needs of Asian consumers, we see strong growth potential for the company.”
L Catterton Asia – previously known as L Capital Asia – was set up in 2009, and manages more than $1.6 billion across two private equity funds, and more than $2 billion that includes co-investments.