One of South Korea’s biggest holding companies is weighing up a bid for The Body Shop chain.
The food, entertainment and logistics giant CJ said it was contemplating an approach on the sale, but had not yet decided whether to make a official offer. The french cosmetics group L’Oreal put The Body Shop up for sale in February this year. This is more than 10 years after snapping up the ethical skincare brand.
The brand said at the time that it was “exploring all strategic options” regarding its ownership of the firm which was founded by Dame Anita Roddick in 1976. L’Oreal is believed to have put a 1 billion euro price tag on the chain. The equivalent to £859 million UK.
A raft of private equity firms are said to be eyeing proposals ahead of a mid-April deadline. The sale comes after The Body Shop has suffered sliding sales, with its most recent update showing a lacklustre performance in Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong.
Sales at the brand sank 5% to 920.8 million euros (£784.2 million) in 2016, down from 967.2 million euros (£823.7 million) in the year to the end of December 2016. But L’Oreal said in February that The Body Shop’s “momentum was good” in Europe – especially in the UK – and across Latin America thanks to a new operation in Chile.
Dame Anita and her husband banked around £117 million from their 18% stake in the business when they backed the board’s decision to push through a £652.3 million sale to L’Oreal in March 2006. The Roddicks started The Body Shop in 1976 to help support their two young daughters, Justine and Samantha.
The company now has 3,000 stores in 66 countries and employs more than 22,000 people worldwide.