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L’Occitane Owner Said to Mull Buyout of $4 Billion Beauty Firm

Billionaire chairman Reinold Geiger is studying the possibility of buying out minority shareholders of the Hong Kong-listed group.
L’Occitane owner said to mull buyout of $4 billion beauty firm.
L’Occitane owner said to mull buyout of $4 billion beauty firm. (Shutterstock)

L’Occitane International SA’s controlling shareholder is considering a move to take the skin care company private, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Billionaire chairman Reinold Geiger is studying the possibility of buying out minority shareholders of the Hong Kong-listed group, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. He’s been exploring various financing options for the potential deal, according to the people.

Shares of L’Occitane have fallen 20 percent over the past 12 months, giving the company a market value of about HK$30.9 billion ($4 billion). A vehicle ultimately controlled by Geiger owns more than 70 percent of L’Occitane, exchange filings show.

The company’s portfolio includes L’Occitane en Provence, inspired by the lavender fields of southern France, and Melvita organic beauty products. It also owns the Elemis line of collagen creams, as well the Grown Alchemist range of anti-aging serums and Korean skin care brand Erborian.

L’Occitane, which is based in Luxembourg and Geneva, and its backers raised $787 million in the company’s 2010 initial public offering, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It listed in Hong Kong at a time when a number of Western consumer companies were seeking to boost exposure to the fast-growing consumer market in China.

Over the past five years, an average of $1.7 million in L’Occitane stock has changed hands daily, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Geiger may consider relisting L’Occitane in Paris or another European market at a later date, some of the people said.

Deliberations are ongoing, and there’s no certainty he will decide to proceed with a transaction, they said. Representatives for L’Occitane didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. Geiger didn’t immediately reply to emailed queries.

By Vinicy Chan, Ruth David and Manuel Baigorri

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