PARIS (Reuters) - Bain Capital LLC and AXA Private Equity are the finalists in the bidding contest for French furniture-store chain Maisons du Monde, owned by private equity firms Apax and LBO France, sources familiar with the deal said.
The deal is the latest sign of a spurt of activity in France’s long-quiet LBO market. Final offers for the company, valued at up to 700 million euros ($907.69 million) including debt, are due in early June.
At least two other private-equity auctions could also come to a close in June, including that for cosmetics retailer Nocibe, and caterer Elior, the latter valued at up to 4 billion euros, some of the same sources said.
Private equity firms LBO France and Apax Partners each own 35 percent of Maisons du Monde, with the rest owned by Xavier Marie, the chain’s founder and CEO, and other managers.
Apax, Bain, LBO France and AXA Private Equity all declined to comment.
AXA Private Equity, recently spun off from insurer AXA (AXAF.PA), has been involved with several other recent deals, both as a potential buyer and seller, including the buyout of resorts operator Club Mediterranee CMIP.PA announced earlier this week.
Maisons du Monde’s revenue rose 17 percent last year to 495 million, although only 6 percent was from same store sales growth. The chain, which has outlets in France, Spain, Italy and Belgium, opened 18 stores last year and plans to open another 20 this year, according to Apax’s annual report.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew at a faster pace than revenue, Apax said, without providing precise figures. A source said its EBITDA was between 75 and 80 million euros in 2012.
Investment banks Lazard and Messier Maris were mandated to sell the chain in February.
($1 = 0.7712 euros)
Additional reporting by Matthieu Protard, Sophie Sassard and Anjuli Davies