Advent starts preparations to list perfume chain Douglas, say sources-Reuters

(Reuters) – U.S. buyout group Advent is preparing to return German perfume chain Douglas to the stock market as a way of offloading its stake in the group, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The private equity group has mandated advisory boutique Lilja to help with preparations for a listing, including choosing banks to run the initial public offering (IPO), the sources told Reuters.

Douglas Chief Executive Henning Kreke already flagged the possibility of a listing last November.

Advent will run a dual track process for either a sale or an IPO depending on third-quarter figures for the Douglas fiscal year that ends in September, meaning a listing may take place by mid-November at the latest, the sources said.

Advent declined to comment while Lilja was not immediately available.

Since being taken private by Advent and the Kreke family in 2013, Douglas has pursued a strategy of seeking to become Europe’s top perfumes retailer, buying up French perfumeries chain Nocibe and selling its confectionery stores.

It appointed investment bank Macquarie last year to organise the sale of its Thalia book stores division. Thalia would not be part of the IPO.
Groups like luxury group LVMH, which runs the Sephora beauty chain in France, looked at Douglas when Advent took it private. It is unclear if LVMH would be able to buy Douglas due to competition concerns.

The sources said they expected Douglas’ valuation to be much higher than when it was previously listed as it is now a dedicated perfumes group rather than a conglomerate.