The Kooples: Green light from French competition authority for buyout by Maus Frères
The opening of exclusive negotiations between Swiss group Maus Frères (owner of Lacoste, Aigle and Gant) and the current The Kooples owners for a sale of the Parisian label has reached the next step. On May 20, the French competition authority approved the buyout.
The acquisition by Maus Frères is moving full steam ahead. After the approval, it will only be a matter of weeks for The Kooples to be integrated into its portfolio, to be announced before the end of the first half. The Swiss group is reportedly buying 100% of the shares, 80% of which are currently owned by the founding family Elicha, while the other 20% are owned by LBO France.
The independent competition authority received the acquisition project on April 17. It noted in its report: “The Kooples Group is a family-owned Belgian company, principally active in the retail distribution of clothing and footwear, via The Kooples brand.
“The Kooples Group is present in 14 countries (France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, the US, Spain, Ireland, the UK, Denmark, Asia-Pacific, Canada, the Netherlands, Luxemburg and Italy). It recorded, in 2018, revenue estimated at approximately €227 million.”
Compared with the scope of the Maus Frères group, “in the retail distribution of clothing and footwear from brands Lacoste, Aigle and Gant, worldwide, as well as [being active] in the sectors of distribution of do-it-yourself products in Switzerland,” it concluded that “the operation is not of a nature to damage competition.”
For cases in which the different brands of the group’s portfolio would be operating in the same shopping zones, the authority “noted that, in each of these zones, consumers will continue to benefit from offers that are equivalent alternatives to those of the parties, in terms of price and commercial positioning.
“These competing stores remain sufficient in number for the new entity not to be incited to increase the price of products sold or to degrade the quality of the service offered in its stores. The authority has thus authorised the buyout without conditions,” it concluded.
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