L’Occitane International SA fell by the most on record after its billionaire chairman ended deliberations on a potential deal to take the skin-care company private, a move that would have added to a series of similar buyout deals in Hong Kong.
(Bloomberg) — L’Occitane International SA fell by the most on record after its billionaire chairman ended deliberations on a potential deal to take the skin-care company private, a move that would have added to a series of similar buyout deals in Hong Kong.
Shares dropped about 28% to HK$19.90 each in pre-market in Hong Kong as trading resumed on Tuesday. The company was informed by its controlling shareholder on Sept. 3 that it’s decided not to proceed with the possible transaction, it said in an exchange filing Monday. It didn’t provided reasons for the decision.
Bloomberg News first revealed in July that L’Occitane Chairman Reinold Geiger was studying the possibility of taking the company private. A vehicle ultimately controlled by Geiger owns more than 70% of L’Occitane, which had a market value of about $5.2 billion before the Monday announcement.
Geiger has been speaking to advisers about the idea of relisting L’Occitane on a European exchange as soon as next year. L’Occitane said Aug. 11 its controlling shareholder was considering a deal to take the company private and would potentially offer at least HK$26 per share, though the company hadn’t received a firm bid yet.
The announcement is likely a surprise to the market as it suggests that there is a discrepancy between the controlling shareholder and the minority shareholders on an offer price, Jefferies Financial Group Inc. analysts including Anne Ling wrote in a note. While the deal is terminated, the management may seek ways to enhance shareholders’ value, the analysts said.
A take-private of L’Occitane would have added to a series of similar deals in Hong Kong as valuations remain depressed. Chinese snack maker Dali Foods Group Co. received a take-private proposal from its controlling shareholder in June, and big-screen cinema company Imax Corp. is also seeking to take full control of its listed Chinese business.
Read More: Take-Privates Fan Hong Kong M&A Revival Hopes
L’Occitane, which is based in Luxembourg and Geneva, and its backers raised $787 million in the company’s 2010 initial public offering. It listed in Hong Kong at a time when a number of Western consumer companies were seeking to boost exposure to the fast-growing consumer market in China. Hong Kong individual investors ordered almost 160 times the number of L’Occitane shares reserved for them, making it one of the most popular IPOs at the time.
The company’s portfolio includes L’Occitane en Provence, inspired by the lavender fields of southern France, and Melvita organic beauty products. It also owns the Elemis line of collagen creams, as well as the Grown Alchemist range of anti-aging serums and Korean skin-care brand Erborian.
(Updates with L’Occitane share moves throughout the story and analyst comment in fifth paragraph.)
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