L'Oreal's Body Shop Chain Said to Attract Bids From 15 Suitors

  • Carlyle, CVC, BC Partners among bidders for the brand
  • Company will shortlist firms for the next round this week

L’Oreal SA drew bids from around 15 private equity firms and companies, including CVC Capital Partners, Carlyle Group LP and South Korea’s CJ Group, for its Body Shop division, said people familiar with the matter.

Bidders for the next round will be shortlisted this week, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details aren’t public. BC Partners, Bain Capital and Advent International Corp. were also among firms that submitted bids, they said.

L’Oreal said in February it was exploring “all strategic options” for Body Shop, which was founded in 1976 by British entrepreneur Anita Roddick and spearheaded the trend for environmentally minded products. Operating profit at the firm known for its body butter and hemp creams has been falling for the past three years as it struggles to compete with newer rivals.

A representative for L’Oreal declined to comment. The private equity bidders declined to comment. CJ Group, which has said it was interested in bidding for the business, didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request.

L’Oreal acquired Body Shop in 2006 in a deal that valued it at 652 million pounds ($810 million). Operating profit at the business fell to 33.8 million euros ($35.9 million) in 2016, down from 54.8 million euros a year earlier. 

— With assistance by Robert Williams

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