KKR Fashion Brands Said to Draw Bids From Lion Capital, Ruyi

  • French fashion group could be valued at more than $1 billion
  • Company owns clothing brands Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot

SMCP, the KKR & Co.-backed owner of French fashion brands Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot, has attracted bids from Lion Capital and Chinese textile producer Shandong Ruyi Group, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The clothing group could be valued at more than $1 billion in the sale, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. KKR, which bought control of SMCP in 2013, hired banks last year to consider strategic options including a sale of its stake, according to the people.

Affordable luxury labels like those owned by SMCP are enjoying surging demand from a growing Chinese middle class and are unscathed by Beijing’s anti-graft campaign, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. Any deal would add to the $1.7 trillion in consumer acquisitions announced in the past 12 months, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“There is a lot of competition for these types of brands,” Charles Allen, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence in London, said by phone Thursday. “Certainly in China it’s super competitive, not only with the more recognizable brands such as Hugo Boss, but a whole series of brands you’ve probably not heard of.”

SMCP, which has more than 1,000 stores in 34 countries, is adding shops in Hong Kong and seeking opportunities to expand in mainland China, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Lalonde said in an interview last year. It added 12 new outlets in Asia in the first half of 2015, its website shows.

Consumer Investments

The company’s sales for the first half of 2015 rose 32 percent to 316 million euros ($344 million), according to a statement. Representatives for KKR, Lion Capital and Shandong Ruyi Group declined to comment.

The portfolio at Lion Capital, a U.K. private-equity firm focused on consumer investments, includes British fashion retailer AllSaints and food producers Bumble Bee Foods and Findus Group. 

Shandong Ruyi Group, based in eastern China, has annual sales of more than 30 billion yuan ($4.6 billion), according to its website. It has invested in clothing companies including Tokyo-based Renown Inc., which sells the Aquascutum and D’urban brands in Japan.

KKR bought 65 percent of SMCP from L Capital, the private-equity firm backed by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, while the company’s management kept the remaining stake, according to a press release at the time.

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