CVC to Acquire Douglas as German Retailer Pivots From IPO

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CVC Capital Partners agreed to buy Douglas AG, striking a deal days after the German perfume retailer announced plans for an initial public offering.

Private-equity company CVC is buying the company from Advent International Corp., another buyout firm, and the founding Kreke family, which plans to reinvest in the business, London-based CVC said Monday. The price, which wasn’t disclosed, was about 2.8 billion euros ($3.1 billion), according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Douglas, which operates more than 1,700 stores in 19 countries, is a changed business from the one Advent bought for 1.5 billion euros in 2012. It sold the Christ jewelry stores division and acquired French fragrance chain Nocibe as it focuses on its position as Europe’s biggest perfume retailer. On May 29, Douglas said it planned a return to the stock market through a sale of Advent’s stake plus 70 million euros in new shares.

Soren Vestergaard-Poulsen, a managing partner at CVC, said on a conference call with reporters that Douglas has “the strength to be a global brand” and would use internal investment and acquisitions to possibly expand into Asia and other regions outside Europe. Chief Executive Officer Henning Kreke, whose family has run the retailer since 1969, will retain his post.

Based in the industrial Ruhr Valley city of Hagen and with roots dating back to 1821, Douglas posted sales of about 2.5 billion euros in the 2014 financial year. It controls about 17 percent of the European perfume chain market.

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