Affinity Equity joins Stylenanda bidding fray

Hong Kong’s Affinity Equity Partners has joined a bidding scramble for Korean budget fashion and cosmetics brand Stylenanda.

Also in the race are LVMH-backed L Catterton, L’Oreal and Shiseido, with the bid worth up to KW500 billion (US$467 million), insiders say.

Parent company Nanda has received letters of intent from potential bidders, including a local department-store chain, to sell a stake of up to 70 per cent.

Launched in 2005, Stylenanda saw its sales soar to KW170 billion last year. While it started as a fashion brand, it has lately been focusing more on its cosmetics business. Now more than half of its sales come from its budget cosmetics brand 3CE.

For its fashion business, the firm is focusing more on upscale boutique shops.

CEO Kim So-hee, who owns the company outright, in 2016 sought to sell a sizeable portion along with management rights. There were negotiations with such candidates as Hyundai Department Store and TPG, but these collapsed.

Meanwhile, L Catterton has been buying stakes in Korean companies in recent years, including US$80 million in YG Entertainment, $50 million in cosmetics maker Clio, and US$230 million in eyewear brand Gentle Monster.

Affinity has also been buying into Korean firms. In August it bought plastic container company Lock&Lock for KW629.3 billion.

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