Alibaba's Jack Ma invited to join bid for L'Oreal's The Body Shop: sources

Fri Jun 2, 2017 6:11pm EDT
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By Pamela Barbaglia and Martinne Geller

LONDON (Reuters) - European private equity firm Investindustrial has invited the investment vehicle of Alibaba's (BABA.N: Quote) founder Jack Ma to submit a joint bid of more than 800 million euros ($900 million) for L'Oreal's (OREP.PA: Quote) The Body Shop, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday, just days before a deadline for final bids.

Hong Kong-based Blue Pool Capital has been asked to team up with Investindustrial and Brazil's GP Investments (GPIV33.SA: Quote), one of Latin America's largest private equity firms, in making a bid for the British-based cosmetics retailer, the sources said.

European private equity investor CVC Capital Partners [CVC.UL] is also planning to submit a rival offer ahead of a June 7 deadline for final bids, the sources said, adding that another buyout firm, Advent, has decided to drop out of the contest.

L'Oreal has asked prospective bidders to table offers of no less than 800 million euros, said the sources.

L'Oreal, Investindustrial, GP Investments, Advent and CVC all declined to comment while no one at Blue Pool Capital was available for comment outside of regular business hours.

Investindustrial's Italian founder Andrea Bonomi told Reuters earlier this month that the buyout firm, which also has investments in luxury carmaker Aston Martin and shoemaker Sergio Rossi, was in the race for The Body Shop..

The firm worked with GP Investments on an eventually unsuccessful joint bid for French holiday resorts operator Club Med back in 2014.

L'Oreal said in February it was reviewing its strategy for The Body Shop, which it bought for 652 million pounds ($840 million) in 2006.   Continued...

The logo of British cosmetics and skin care company The Body Shop is seen outside a store in Vienna, Austria, June 4, 2016.    REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger