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Reuters – Advent Nears Takeover with Douglas Owners

Private equity investor Advent has reached an agreement with two big shareholders in Douglas Holding AG and may present a takeover offer for the German books-to-perfumes retailer as soon as next week, the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper reported, citing financial sources. The agreement with the shareholders, Erwin Mueller and the Oetker family, paves the way for Advent to offer around 38 to 40 euros for each Douglas share, valuing the company at between 1.5 billion euros ($1.9 billion) and 1.6 billion euros, the newspaper said in a report released in advance of publication on Tuesday.

 

(Reuters) – Private equity investor Advent has reached an agreement with two big shareholders in Douglas Holding AG and may present a takeover offer for the German books-to-perfumes retailer as soon as next week, the Financial Times Deutschland newspaper reported, citing financial sources.

 

The agreement with the shareholders, Erwin Mueller and the Oetker family, paves the way for Advent to offer around 38 to 40 euros for each Douglas share, valuing the company at between 1.5 billion euros ($1.9 billion) and 1.6 billion euros, the newspaper said in a report released in advance of publication on Tuesday.

 

However, a source close to Advent told Reuters that talks were continuing and played down the prospect anything happening as soon as next week, saying the U.S. investor was seeking a solution that was amicable for all parties.

 

The price mentioned by the paper was more like wishful thinking than a realistic valuation, the source added.

 

Erwin Mueller has an effective 25.8 percent stake in Douglas, comprising 10.8 percent of the equity and options for a further 15 percent, while the Oetker family is the biggest shareholder in the retailer, with a 25.8 percent stake.

 

Sources had told Reuters on Aug. 14 that no deal was imminent in Advent’s talks with another big shareholder, the Kreke family, which holds 12.7 percent of the retailer.

 

Advent declined comment, while Oetker, Mueller and Kreke were not immediately available for comment.

 

Shares in Douglas, which have gained nearly one-fourth this year on the back of takeover speculation, closed flat on Monday at 33.75 euros, compared with a 0.4 percent rise on the index of German medium-sized companies. ($1 = 0.7990 euros) (Reporting by Jonathan Gould, Alexander Huebner and Matthias Inverardi; editing by Matthew Lewis)