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Nov 19 (Reuters) - Asian-inspired jewelry company John Hardy Group is exploring a potential sale, according to people familiar with the matter.
Bali-based John Hardy, a portfolio company of British private equity firm 3i Group PLC, has hired Rothschild to conduct a sales process, which is in the early stages, the sources said.
John Hardy could not be reached for comment. Rothschild and 3i Group declined to comment.
The firm, founded in 1989 by Canadian jewelry designer John Hardy, produces Asian-inspired products that are sold in major department stores including Neiman Marcus Group Inc, Hudson's Bay Co's Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bloomingdale's .
3i Group invested in John Hardy in 2007 after the company's founders retired and sold the firm to Chief Executive Damien Dernoncourt and creative director Guy Bedarida. 3i Group's investment supported the management buyout.
Mergers and acquisitions in the jewelry sector have been active this year, with such deals as Swatch Group SA's $750 million purchase of Harry Winston's watch and jewelry business, Kering SA's purchase of Italian jewelry group Pomellato, and China Haidian Holdings Ltd's acquisition of luxury Swiss watchmaker Corum.