KKR Acquires Majority Stake in SMCP

Maje Spring/Summer 2013 | Photo: Craig McDean

PARIS, France — After weeks of exclusive talks, American private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (“KKR”) has formally acquired a 65 percent majority stake in SMCP Group, owner of contemporary French apparel brands Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot. The remaining shares will stay with founders Evelyne Chétrite and Judith Milgrom, along with members of management, Elie Kouby and Frédéric Biousse. Details of the deal were not disclosed, but sources estimate that the transaction valued SMCP Group at 650 million euros, according to Reuters.

All three brands have flourished in recent years, combining responsive, trendy designs at affordable prices with slick, high-end marketing and a luxury-like customer experience. SMCP currently operate about 500 stores, mainly in Europe, and aims to drive further expansion in Asian and American markets. Sources say that the group generated sales of over 300 million euros last year.

“We look forward to working with KKR as we accelerate the international expansion of our brands, particularly in the United States and Asia,” said SMCP chief executive Frédéric Biousse in a statement. Founder Evelyne Chétrite added that she had “great ambitions for the group: building a global leader in the affordable luxury segment.”

L Capital, the private equity firm controlled by LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault, formerly owned 51 percent of SMCP, which it acquired back in 2010 along with private equity firm Florac.