Aurelius Poised for The  Body Shop Takeover

Aurelius Poised for The  Body Shop Takeover

THE WHAT?  Aurelius Group, the private equity investor that owns Footasylum, is currently in exclusive negotiations to acquire The Body Shop, an ethical cosmetics chain founded almost 50 years ago by Dame Anita Roddick and her husband Gordon. The British-based chain was put up for sale by its Brazilian owner, Natura &Co, during the summer. A deal is expected to be finalised in November, valuing The Body Shop at a significantly lower price than the £400m to £500m suggested by some media reports.

THE DETAILS  Aurelius Group acquired Footasylum just over a year ago, following a mandated sale by competition regulators from JD Sports Fashion. The group also owns the Lloyds Pharmacy group, which it is currently selling off piecemeal. Aurelius has surpassed rival bidders for The Body Shop, including Alteri Investors, private equity firm Epiris, and Elliott Advisors, owner of Waterstones. The Body Shop employs about 10,000 people and operates approximately 3,000 stores in 70 countries. Natura &Co acquired The Body Shop for over US$1bn in 2017, meaning the sale to Aurelius will likely value it at less than half of that sum. Natura &Co has been working with Morgan Stanley on the sale and aims to conclude the deal before the year’s end.

THE WHY? The Body Shop has struggled to achieve profitable growth for years but retains a significant presence on British high streets. Its early stance on environmental causes and opposition to animal testing helped it stand out in the market. However, the brand’s distinctiveness has diminished in recent years due to the emergence of competitors focusing on sustainability and targeting younger consumers more effectively. Aurelius’ acquisition of The Body Shop would add to its diverse portfolio of companies, while Natura & Co’s decision to sell aligns with its intention to conclude the deal swiftly and likely streamline its operations.