While the third quarter was light on merger and acquisition transactions, the beauty industry has emerged from the recession with a number of potential buyers with significant cash on the books searching for attractive and often niche beauty brands, according to Brand Growth Management (BGM), a New York-based firm working with brands to position them for growth, financing and sale. The list of targets on everyone’s lips is a long one, BGM said, including Ahava, Carol’s Daughter, Caudalie, Dr Bronner’s, Dollar Shave Club, EOS Products and Glamglow. Every quarter, BGM conveniently sums up the period’s M&A activity in the beauty world. Here, some highlights from their full report, which can be accessed here.

The quarter kicked off with news that Encore had purchased a stake in Butter London, the Seattle, Washington-based brand that launched in 2005 as a freestanding nail salon in the Seattle-Tacoma International airport. Last year the brand expanded into color cosmetics. According to Kelly Kovack, Principal at BGM, “Butter London was one the early players that saw the white space in nail and fully committed to owning their piece of the category. With the nail category beyond saturated at this point, the brand has been proactive in building adjacent categories. The capitalization of the business for growth poises the brand for significant growth.”

In September it was announced that L’Oréal bought Brazil’s Niely Cosmeticos, the largest independent hair color and hair care company in Brazil. The company’s main brands are Cor & Ton for hair color and Niely Gold for shampoo and care. With sales of nearly $200 million, the deal brings L’Oréal’s vast hair care portfolio a stronger grasp on Brazil’s middle class beauty consumer.

Also during the quarter, Murad purchased its UK distribution partner and said it was planning the acquisition of a Hong Kong distributor to beef up presence in Asia. The deal will allow Murad to directly manage its growth through an existing infrastructure while picking up margin, said BGM, and also give it the ability to directly manage an underdeveloped and important market. This vision, if successful, will significantly increase the brand’s international footprint and accelerate growth, Kelly said.