Sep 12, 2014
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Douglas nears sale of jewellery retailer Christ

Sep 12, 2014

FRANKFURT, Germany - German books-to-cosmetics retailer Douglas has asked for second-round bids for its Christ jewellery arm in a potential deal worth more than 400 million euros ($517 million), two sources familiar with the deal said.


Since being taken private by buyout group Advent last year, Douglas, which also runs stores selling perfumes and clothes, has decided to focus on the beauty part of the business, buying up French perfume chain Nocibe and selling its Hussel branded confectionary stores.

Douglas hopes to complete the sale of its Christ unit ahead of a planned return to the stock exchange.

Buyout groups Ardian, 3i, Pamplona, Apollo as well as a European jewellery retailer have been invited to hand in final offers for Christ by late October, the sources said.

Tentative bids valued Christ at more than 8 times its expected earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization of about 50 million euros, they added.

By comparison, listed peer Signet Jewelers, which is not vying for the asset, trades at a multiple of 11.7 times its expected operating earnings.

Douglas has also launched a sale of its Thalia book stores division and its fashion retailer Appelrath Cueppers.

Once the restructuring is done, Advent is considering a flotation of Douglas on the Frankfurt stock exchange, people familiar with the situation said, adding an initial public offering may take place as early as the first half of 2015.

If Douglas does not succeed in finding a buyer for the assets it has put on the block, it may decide to go public in a setup that includes Christ, but not Thalia and Appelrath, they added.

Douglas and the buyout groups declined to comment.

1 US dollar = 0.7730 euro

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