OPI Products Said to Be in Talks for Sale, May Fetch $1 Billion

OPI Products Inc., the closely held nail-care company, is in advanced talks to sell itself to a beauty-care company or private-equity firm for as much as $1 billion, said four people with knowledge of the matter.

Closely held perfume maker Coty Inc. is the likeliest buyer, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Private-equity firms Bain Capital LLC and Advent International Corp. are also among those that made first- round bids, said the people. Second-round bids are due in the next two weeks, they said.

OPI, based in North Hollywood, California, may fetch $900 million to $1 billion, said the people. Investment bank Lazard Ltd. is running the auction for OPI, according to the people. Interested buyers are conducting due diligence on OPI, which sells nail polish, hand-and-foot care products and body lotion.

Coty distributes fragrances such as “Lovely” from actress Sarah Jessica Parker and “Princess” from designer Vera Wang. OPI’s products, which are used in nail salons, include the color “Teas-y Does It,” from the Holiday 2010 Burlesque collection based on Sony Pictures’ upcoming movie starring Cher and Christina Aguilera.

L’Oreal SA, the world’s largest cosmetics maker, didn’t make a first-round offer, said another person familiar with the matter. The Paris-based company is watching the bidding and may join later, the person said.

Founded in 1981

OPI has annual sales of about $300 million and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of about $80 million, said the people with knowledge the situation. The company is seeking 11 to 12 times its earnings for the sale, they said. President and Chief Executive Officer George Schaeffer founded the company in 1981, according to OPI’s website.

“These rumors have persisted for years, and other than that, I have no comment,” said Harris Shepard, a spokesman for OPI.

Spokeswomen for L’Oreal and New York-based Coty declined to comment. Coty calls itself the world’s largest fragrance company, with annual sales of about $4 billion. Spokesmen for Bain and Advent also declined to comment.

In April, L’Oreal agreed to buy Essie Cosmetics to expand in the nail color market in the U.S. Terms weren’t disclosed. Essie’s sales in the previous 12 months were $28 million, L’Oreal said at the time.

To contact the reporters on the story: Jeffrey McCracken in New York at jmccracken3@bloomberg.net; Cristina Alesci in New York at calesci2@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jennifer Sondag at jsondag@bloomberg.net.

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