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Skincare firm L’Occitane surges on report Blackstone considering buyout bid

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of L’Occitane en Provence logo in Paris, France, August 10, 2023. REUTERS/Stephanie Lecocq/File Photo

(Reuters) -Blackstone is considering a bid for Hong Kong-listed skincare firm L’Occitane International SA, Bloomberg News reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter, sending the French firm’s shares to their highest in two years.

The U.S. private-equity giant has been conducting preliminary due diligence while it evaluates a potential buyout bid along with considering the possibility of teaming up with L’Occitane’s billionaire chairman Reinold Geiger for the takeover, the report added.

Shares of L’Occitane, the $5.36 billion firm that competes with cosmetic companies such as L’Oreal SA, jumped as much as 15.4% to HK$30 to hit their highest level since Feb. 14, 2022.

Blackstone (NYSE:) declined to comment, while L’Occitane did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

The Luxembourg-headquartered company could also attract interest from other suitors, the report said, adding that deliberations are at an early stage, and there is no certainty they will lead to a proposal.

Austrian billionaire Geiger, the controlling shareholder of the skincare specialist company, had decided against a deal to take the company private last September, triggering a drag in the stock.

The buyout offer was from Geiger’s investment holding company, L’Occitane Groupe SA, at a time when Hong Kong emerged as an epicentre of buyout deals and a number of firms from the West were looking to boost exposure in the rapidly growing Chinese market.

L’Occitane listed in Hong Kong in 2010, and at the time was one of the first western companies to sell its primary shares in the Asian financial hub.

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