L'Oreal Mulls [Pounds Sterling]600m Body Shop Takeover

The Evening Standard (London, England), February 23, 2006 | Go to article overview

L'Oreal Mulls [Pounds Sterling]600m Body Shop Takeover


Byline: JIM ARMITAGE

FRENCH cosmetics giant L'Oreal is pondering a [pounds sterling]600 million takeover bid for the Body Shop.

Such a deal would net founders Anita and Gordon Roddick a bumper pay cheque of almost [pounds sterling]120 million for their stake and see an icon of the green movement fall into the hands of a corporate behemoth whose brands range from Lancome to Maybelline.

Shares in Body Shop International surged 27p to 274p, adding to strong gains made yesterday as talk of a deal hit the markets. The company said last night that it knew of no reason for the shareprice rise, but L'Oreal today issued a statement admitting it was considering a cash takeover.

"However, no decision has been made regarding any offer.

L'Oreal's board has not been consultedand no approach has been made to Body Shop," the French company said.

Although based in Paris, L'Oreal is run by Welshman Lindsay Owen-Jones, who is in the process of handing over the reins to Frenchman Jean-Paul Agon.

The company, valued at [pounds sterling]32 billion, last week reported surging profits although sales growth has been more muted since its glory days of 2000-04.

Word of L'Oreal's interest was greeted with dismay by the ethical trading and animal rights lobby, on whose custom the Roddicks built their empire.

L'Oreal has for years been the target of campaigns against testingcosmetics on animals. One lobbyist today described the company as "target number one" because of its vast size and high profile. …

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