French Ardian buys German toymaker Schleich-Reuters

(Reuters) – German toy maker Schleich, known for its lifelike figurines, has been bought by French private equity firm Ardian from its British owner HgCapital, the two private equity companies said on Sunday.

Neither side disclosed the price of the transaction which the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Sunday reported was 220 million euros ($301.50 million), citing unnamed sources in the finance industry.

Ardian, formerly known as AXA Private Equity, used 95 million euros of loans from DZ Bank and Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg to fund the deal, finance sources familiar with the transaction told Reuters on Sunday.

Founded in 1935, Schleich is one of Germany’s biggest toymakers with products sold in more than 50 countries, posting 2013 sales of 106 million euros. It was a family-run business until HgCapital bought an 80 percent stake for 165 million euros in 2006.

“With its new strategy of increasingly expanding into play worlds as well as further penetrating both international markets and new distribution channels, we see significant additional growth potential for the company,” Caspar von Meibohm, managing director at Ardian said.