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LVMH 'not in talks' with German retail family business

By Rashmi Kumar

French luxury company LVMH has not been in contact with perfume and makeup retailer Douglas Holding about taking a stake in the family business, despite a media report to the contrary.

That’s according to a source close to LVMH, headed by Bernard Arnault, who told CampdenFB that the business has “certainly not” been in touch about an investment in Douglas, which is managed by the Kreke family.

“[LVMH] may have contacted Douglas Holding for other reasons – it’s business as usual – but not for talks on disposal,” said the source.

The founding Kreke family, which owns 12.73% of Douglas, said in January it wants to take the business private with the help of financial investors.

But a report by Bloomberg on 18 April claimed that LVMH and the German group have made “preliminary contact”, after the latter’s talks with private equity investors came to a standstill.

When contacted, a spokeswoman for Douglas was unwilling to comment and told CampdenFB that the current ownership figures are “valid and correct”.

Besides the Kreke family’s stake, the Hagen-based retailer is also controlled by two other families. The Oetkers, behind the eponymous food and drinks giant, hold a 25.8% stake while the Mueller family, which runs multi-billion-dollar dairy business Muller, owns 10.8% of the company.

Douglas, which had fiscal 2011 revenues of €3.38 billion, is currently chaired by Jorn Kreke, while son Henning Kreke is president and chief executive.

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