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Lion Capital Said in Exclusive Talks to Buy Afflelou

Lion Capital LLP has entered exclusive talks to buy the French eyeglass retailer Alain Afflelou SA from its private equity owners Bridgepoint Advisers Ltd. and Apax Partners LLP, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Lion Capital last week offered about 800 million euros ($1.1 billion) as it vied with Bain Capital for the asset, one of the people said. The buyout is set to be France’s largest private equity deal so far this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Bridgepoint, a buyout fund manager based in London, bought a majority stake in Alain Afflelou in 2006, when its eponymous founder sought to plan his succession. The deal valued the company at about 500 million euros.

Alain Afflelou operates a network of 1,100 optical retail stores in France, Spain, Switzerland and Portugal, according to the company’s website.

Representatives of Lion Capital and Bridgepoint declined to comment on the deal.

Dow Jones reported earlier that Lion Capital had bought the company.

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