Axa set to buy German clothes exporter: sources

FRANKFURT Fri Jul 20, 2012 7:51pm IST

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Axa Private Equity (AXAF.PA) is set to buy a majority of German clothing exporter Schustermann & Borenstein from its family owners in a deal that values the company at about 300 million euros ($370 million), three people close to the transaction said on Friday.

"Bridgepoint BRDG.UL, Cinven CINV.UL have recently dropped out of the process, 3i (III.L) at an earlier stage, leaving only Axa Private Equity," one of the sources said, adding that a deal may be signed soon.

Schustermann & Borenstein specialises in exporting clothing to eastern Europe and other non-European Union countries. Separately, it sells surplus stock in so-called outlet centers and also in an online community called "Best Secret".

In 2010, Schustermann & Borenstein posted sales of 153 million euros and a net profit of 17 million.

The company is another example of a fashion group being scooped up by a private equity buyer. In Germany, several fashion trading groups are in private equity hands, including Apax-owned retailer Takko and wholesaler CBR, owned by EQT.

In 2010, private equity company Alpha Group floated denim specialist Tom Tailor on the Frankfurt stock exchange. The investor remained invested in small fashion house Eterna.

Upscale fashion house Hugo Boss BOSG_p.DE is majority-owned by Permira, while U.S.-based private equity firm Sun Capital owns British retailers Jacques Vert and Alexon as well as Strauss Innovation and jeans company Lee Cooper.

Schustermann & Borenstein is being advised by Goldman Sachs while MacQuarie is advising Axa private.

The private equity groups and the banks declined to comment. Schustermann & Borenstein was not available for a statement. ($1 = 0.8156 euros)

(Reporting by Arno Schuetze und Alexander Huebner)

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