North Castle in third exit of year

The sale of skin care product maker HDS Cosmetics Lab is the ‘healthy aging and wellness’ specialist firm’s fifth exit since February of 2006.

Wellness-focused private equity firm North Castle Partners has sold portfolio company HDS Cosmetics Lab, a skin care product maker, to The Procter & Gamble Company for an undisclosed amount, the firm said.

North Castle bought Yonkers, New York-based HDS Cosmetics, the parent of Doctor’s Dermatologic Formula (DDF) skin care, in 2004. Howard Sobel, a New York dermatologist, created the DDF line in 1991 to address specific skin care problems like aging, acne, sun damage and hyperpigmentation.

Greenwich, Connecticut-based North Castle held HDS in its aesthetics and personal care division, which is run by Richard Gersten, a managing director at the firm.

This exit is the third that North Castle has made this year. The firm sold juice-maker Naked Juice Company to PepsiCo for an undisclosed amount on January 5. It sold natural personal care products maker Avalon Natural Products to The Hain Celestial Group, an organic food and personal care product maker, for $120 million on January 11.

The firm made two additional exits in February of 2006. It sold California-based CRC Health Group, a provider of drug and alcohol treatment services, to Boston-based private equity firm Bain Capital for approximately $720 million. It also sold upscale fitness club chain Equinox Fitness to New York-based real estate manager The Related Companies for about $505 million.

All five exits came from North Castle’s second and third funds, known as North Castle Partners II and North Castle Partners III. North Castle is in the process of raising it’s fourth fund, which has a target of $300 million.

The firm was founded by Charles “Chip” Baird, a former Bain & Co. consultant.