Blackstone considers bid for L’Occitane, reports say

PE could rescue UK film industry; Cinven appoints three to MD.

Take-privates continue to be a hot topic here on PE Hub Europe. This morning we look at a potential new addition to our ever-growing list of take-private bids, as Blackstone is reportedly considering an offer for French skincare business L’Occitane. L’Occitane just recently bought luxury home fragrance brand, Dr Vranjes Firenze, from Bluegem Capital Partners.

We then hear why UK filmmakers should consider private equity as a funding source, instead of relying on traditional funding streams.

We’ll finish off with some people news, as Cinven has appointed three new co-managing partners.

Skin in the game

Let’s start with a potential take-private. Blackstone is considering a bid for listed skincare business L’Occitane, according to a report by Bloomberg, which cited sources close to the matter.

Blackstone has been conducting preliminary due diligence while it evaluates a potential buyout bid along with mulling over the possibility of teaming up with L’Occitane chair Reinold Geiger, the report added.

L’Occitane, based in Manosque in France, is a chain that sells skincare, bath and hair products.

Following the news, L’Occitane shares jumped by 15.4 percent to reach their highest level since February 2022. The company listed in Hong Kong in 2010.

Blackstone declined to comment when approached by PE Hub Europe.

We recently reported on an exit that L’Occitane was part of. Bluegem Capital Partners announced in early January the sale of a luxury home fragrance brand, Dr Vranjes Firenze, to L’Occitane Group. Craig McGlashan took a closer look at the sale and the wider exit market. You can find his story here.

Lights, camera, action

Moving away from skincare to the film industry, specifically UK filmmaking. Sarudzayi Marufu, founder and executive producer at Euras Films, argues that the industry is in “survival mode” and facing an acute financing crisis. Private equity could be the helping hand the sector desperately needs.

“The biggest issue right now is that we run almost like a welfare system in terms of filmmaking,” she told me. “We have broader funders that generally are quite incestuous, they work together. The film industry is growing; there are more people but less money and less access to public funds.”

Indie filmmakers are fighting giants such as the BBC and Channel 4 for the use of public funds, which according to Marufu is a tough battle.

Marufu sees private equity as a potential solution. But getting PE to show interest in films as an investment is another hurdle entirely. “I personally don’t think filmmaking is that risky,” said Marufu.

“The simplest way to look at it is that they would act as an executive producer,” she added. “They would have a say in terms of creative control, which is where it becomes a little scary for filmmakers. They are afraid of people coming in, telling them what your film should look like. That’s why it needs to be a partnership; it’s a game of transparency.”

Appointments

Finishing off with some people news. Cinven has appointed Bruno Schick, Jorge Quemada and Supraj Rajagopalan as equal co-managing partners.

Schick, who led Cinven’s investment strategy in the DACH region, will chair the portfolio review committee and Quemada, who has driven the firm’s investment strategy in Iberia since inception, will chair the investment committee. Rajagopalan, who led Cinven’s healthcare sector investment team, will lead and manage the day-to-day operations of the firm as CEO and will chair the executive committee.

Stuart McAlpine, who served as managing partner of the firm between 2015 and 2024, will become chairman of the firm and remain a standing member of its investment committee.

Schick and Quemada will continue with their regional responsibilities.