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Buyout group Advent sells Christ jewellery stores to 3i-Reuters

(Reuters) – Buyout group Advent has sold a unit of its German books-to-cosmetics retailer Douglas to rival private equity firm 3i, making headway in a revamp ahead of a planned exit from the investment.

Advent and the Kreke family, which owns 20 percent of the group, sold their Christ jewellery stores – which have annual revenue of around 400 million euros ($507 million) and employ about 2,400 staff in 220 shops – to 3i, the buyout groups said on Monday.

3i is investing 214 million euros in equity, while the deal values the Christ enterprise at 400 million euros including debt, two people familiar with the transaction said.

Since being taken private by Advent last year, Douglas, which also runs stores selling perfumes and clothes, has decided to focus on the beauty part of the business, buying up French perfume chain Nocibe and selling its Hussel branded confectionary stores.

Douglas has also launched a sale of its Thalia book stores division and its fashion retailer Appelrath Cueppers.

Once the restructuring is done, Advent plans to sell Douglas or float it on the Frankfurt stock exchange as early as the first half of 2015.
Buyout groups Ardian, Pamplona, Apollo as well as a European jewellery retailer had also handed in final offers for Christ, the sources said.