Advent’s perfume chain Douglas attracts takeover interest, say sources-Reuters

(Reuters) – Buyout group Advent has attracted interest from strategic buyers and private equity groups for Douglas as it prepares a potential 3 billion euro ($3.28 billion) flotation of the German perfume retail chain, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Luxury goods group LVMH, U.S. pharmacy group CVS, an Asian bidder as well as buyout groups CVC and KKR have signalled their willingness to buy the asset, the sources said.

Advent and the Kreke family, which holds a Douglas stake, plan to decide within days whether to concentrate on IPO preparations or to launch an official sales process, they added.

“The IPO route is so far seen as the favoured option,” one of the sources said.

JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are organising the divestment process and a deal may be carried out after the summer break, the sources said.
LVMH, which runs the Sephora beauty chain in France, looked at Douglas when Advent took it private in 2013.

As LVMH has a 30 percent market share in France it would likely face antitrust issues if it were to buy Douglas, which also owns French peer Nocibe.
Douglas, Nocibe, Sephora and other specialist beauty retailers are under pressure not only from online retailers but also from pharmacies, which are gaining market share by offering cheaper products.

The buyout groups and LVMH declined to comment, while CVS was not immediately available for comment.

Douglas is expected to post 2015 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of roughly 300 million euros on sales of about 2.5 billion euros.

The head of Nocibe said earlier this month that Advent was considering three exit options, either an IPO, a sale to another fund or a sale to another industry player.

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