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L’Oreal, Permira Among Firms Competing for Aesop Stake

The French skin care group and private equity firm proceeded to a second round of bidding for the asset, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Aesop cosmetics store on Santana Row in the Silicon Valley, San Jose, California
Aesop cosmetics store on Santana Row in the Silicon Valley, San Jose, California. (Getty Images)

L’Oreal SA and Permira are among suitors competing for a stake in high-end cosmetics brand Aesop, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The French skin care group and private equity firm proceeded to a second round of bidding for the asset, according to the people. The family behind French cosmetics company Clarins SAS is also bidding through its Famille C Participations investment vehicle, they said.

The stake is being sold by Brazilian cosmetics maker Natura & Co. and a deal could value Aesop at about $2 billion. Binding offers are due in the coming weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.

No final decisions on the size of the stake sale have been made and it’s possible other financial and strategic bidders may emerge. Buyout firm KKR & Co. has also been studying the asset, the people said, while Bloomberg News reported in January that the likes of Japanese beauty group Shiseido Co. were weighing offers.

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Representatives for Famille C Participations, KKR, L’Oreal, Natura and Permira declined to comment.

Sao Paulo-based Natura said in October that it was assessing options to unlock value at Aesop, including a possible initial public offering or spinoff. Tough markets for new listings in 2022 saw the company lean toward a stake sale. The move is part of a broader overhaul being orchestrated by Fabio Barbosa, who took over as chief executive officer last year.

Natura is working with Bank of America Corp. and Morgan Stanley as it explores the sale of a stake in Aesop, people familiar with the matter said previously.

Founded in 1987, Melbourne, Australia-based Aesop manufactures a range of creams and lotions for skin, hair and body. Natura acquired a majority stake in the business in 2013.

By Vinicy Chan, Angelina Rascouet and Crystal Tse

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