L’Oreal, Permira among companies competing for Aesop Stake

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

The French skin care group and the private equity firm have entered a second round of bidding for the asset, according to the people. They say the family behind French cosmetics company Clarins SAS has also made a bid through its Famille C Participations investment vehicle.

The stake is being sold by Brazilian cosmetics maker Natura & Co, and the deal could value Aesop at around $2 billion. Binding proposals will come in the coming weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified while discussing confidential information.

No final decisions have been made on the size of the share sale, and it is possible that other financial and strategic bidders will emerge. Buyout KKR & Co. has also looked at the asset, the people said, while Bloomberg News reported in January that Japan’s Shiseido Co. the likes of the beauty group discussed the proposals.

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

Sao Paulo-based Natura said in October it was evaluating options to unlock value in Aesop, including a possible initial public offering or spinoff. Tough markets for new listings in 2022 saw the company tend to sell shares. The move is part of a wider overhaul orchestrated by Fabio Barbosa, who took over as chief executive last year.

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

Australian Aesop was founded in 1987 and manufactures a range of creams and lotions for skin, hair and body. Natura acquired a majority stake in the business in 2013.

By Vinisi Chan, Angelina Rascue, and Crystal Tse

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