Zoë Foster Blake Secures Majority Stake in Go-To Skincare Amid BWX Group's Financial Struggles

Zoë Foster Blake, a former Young Rich Lister, has repurchased a substantial stake in her brainchild, Go-To Skincare, from the financially embattled BWX Group, at a significantly reduced rate compared to her original selling price two years ago.

Transaction Snapshot

  • Deal Value: Total transaction cost of $21.8 million
  • Deal Type: Acquisition
  • Sellers: BWX Group
  • Buyers: Zoë Foster Blake, Paul Bates

The BWX Group, an ASX-listed entity in the beauty sector and backed by the Forrest family, faced financial collapse in April, accruing around $105 million in debts to the Commonwealth Bank. In 2021, BWX had acquired a controlling interest of 50.1% in Go-To Skincare for $89 million. In a recent transaction reminiscent of Kerry Packer's historic media deal, Foster Blake and co-founder Paul Bates repurchased the stake for a mere $8.5 million, but the total sum involved in the deal was $21.8 million.

This transaction was facilitated by BWX's receivers, KPMG, and involved the sale of a 49.9% stake in Go-To Skincare. Foster Blake's investment of $8 million and Bates's contribution of $500,000 have now elevated Foster Blake to a majority shareholder position, holding 59.68%.

To fund this acquisition, Go-To Skincare allocated $4.5 million from its retained earnings and procured a $10 million loan, effectively resolving the put-option liability from the original 2021 deal, valued at $59 million. The cumulative $21.8 million generated from this sale is earmarked for reducing the Commonwealth Bank's $100 million exposure linked to BWX.

Expressing enthusiasm over regaining control, Foster Blake is committed to fully focusing on Go-To Skincare. Despite BWX's receivership earlier this year, Go-To Skincare continued its operations unaffectedly, with Foster Blake remaining as the chief creative officer and director.

KPMG's turnaround and restructuring services partner, Gayle Dickerson, acknowledged the positive impact of returning control to Foster Blake, considering her profound understanding of the brand. The transaction, managed by Grant Samuel, followed the collapse of earlier negotiations with River Capital.

This development in Go-To Skincare's ownership occurs alongside the sale of Flora & Fauna and Nourished Life to Health Post in New Zealand. Moreover, the ongoing sale of BWX's Sukin brand, managed by Greenhill & Co, has attracted final bids from Dennis Bastas and Natural Beauty Care, the latter having links to former BWX CEO John Humble.

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