* Bids give businesses EV over 650 mln euros
* CVC Capital, Wendel, Moulin family make offers
* L Capital, backed by Arnault, among sellers
By Christian Plumb and Astrid Wendlandt
PARIS, Jan 31 Private equity firms including
Carlyle and KKR this week submitted non-binding
offers for control of French fashion brands Maje, Sandro and
Claudie Pierlot, sources familiar with the transaction told
The auction of the brands, known for their trendy and
affordable ready-to-wear garments, has generated close interest
in part because of a dearth of similar assets of that size on
the market, one of the sources said.
First-round bids submitted on Tuesday gave the three brands
- partly controlled by France's richest man, luxury goods mogul
Bernard Arnault - an enterprise value of more than 650 million
euros ($880 million), the sources said.
In addition to Carlyle and KKR, preliminary non-binding bids
were submitted by PAI Partners, CVC Capital Partners,
Eurazeo and Wendel.
A further bid was submitted by the Moulin family, which
controls the Galeries Lafayette department store chain and is
flush with cash after selling its remaining 50 percent stake in
supermarket chain Monoprix, sources said.
The deal could include a cash injection into parent company
SMCP, an umbrella structure created in 2010 to house Sandro,
Maje and Claudie Pierlot when L Capital and Florac acquired 51
percent of its equity, split equally between them.
The remaining 49 percent remained in the hands of the two
sisters who created Maje and Sandro, Judith Milgrom and Evelyne
The transaction would allow the brands, which have about 500
stores combined, to pursue their worldwide expansion after sales
growth of more than 20 percent in recent years.
It comes as market conditions for ready-to-wear show signs
of improving, thanks to renewed consumer confidence in major
markets such as the United States and China.
THE MONCLER MODEL
L Capital is backed by the No.1 luxury goods company LVMH
and Arnault, the firm's chief executive and
controlling shareholder. Florac is controlled by Marie-Jeanne
Meyer, a shareholder and former head of trading group Louis
Dreyfus. Neither L Capital nor Florac returned calls seeking
Carlyle and KKR both declined comment. A Eurazeo spokeswoman
declined comment as did a spokeswoman for the Moulin family.
Wendel declined to comment.
Eurazeo in 2011 made a foray into luxury, buying 45 percent
of outdoor apparel group Moncler from Carlyle and other
investors. If market conditions are auspicious, Moncler could
seek a flotation this year, industry sources have said.
Sources said there was a diverse list of potential buyers,
with some unidentified strategic players in the process in
addition to the private equity firms.
Sales generated by the three brands are estimated to be more
than 300 million euros, with earnings before interest, taxes,
depreciation and amortisation of 60 million euros, the sources
Managers of the business have said in the past they aimed to
grow total sales to 500 million euros by 2014 and turn the three
fashion names into global brands.
Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot have enjoyed strong growth
in recent years by opening shops in Europe as well as in the
United States and Japan and they are looking to continue
expanding in Asia and America.