Deals Rumor Mill: Charlotte Tilbury, Arctos Sports, Aurora

By Benjamin Horney
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Law360 (April 30, 2020, 5:30 PM EDT) -- The deals rumor mill is often overflowing with transactions that are reportedly close to being inked, but with so many rumors it can be hard to know which ones to stay on top of every week.

Here, Law360 breaks down the deal rumors from the past week that you need to be aware of.

British Makeup Co. Could Be Sold In £1B Deal

British makeup manufacturer Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Ltd. has attracted a number of possible buyers, including Unilever Plc, L'Oreal SA and Estee Lauder Cos. Inc., according to a Tuesday report from Bloomberg. According to the report, Charlotte Tilbury has hired Goldman Sachs Group and Jefferies Financial Group to assist with the sales process that could result in a deal valued at upwards of £1 billion ($1.24 billion). Private equity firms have also indicated interest in a deal, the report said, and a winning bidder could be selected as soon as early May.

New Sports PE Firm Seeks $1.75B For Debut Fund

A  new, sports-focused private equity firm called Arctos Sports Partners is seeking to raise as much as $1.75 billion for its debut fund that will focus on acquiring minority stakes in professional sports franchises, according to a Wednesday report from Bloomberg. The firm is led by Doc O'Connor, who previously served as CEO of Madison Square Garden Co., along with Ian Charles, a private equity veteran whose experience includes time at Landmark Partners. The fund will seek to invest across major U.S. leagues and will also look at deals for stakes in European soccer teams. 

PE Shop Seeks Upsized $1.8B Fund Despite Coronavirus Difficulties

California-based private equity firm Aurora Capital Partners has raised about $1.6 billion thus far for its sixth flagship investment vehicle, and intends to continue collecting money from investors even though it has already surpassed an initial target of $1.5 billion, according to a Thursday report from The Wall Street Journal. According to the report, the middle market-focused firm is now aiming to hit the $1.8 billion hard cap, despite challenges presented by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The firm's previous fund closed at $1.2 billion back in 2017, the report noted. A final closing is not expected to take place until midsummer, the report added, because multiple investors need to complete due diligence but have been hampered by travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Henkel, KKR Pause Plans To Bid On Multibillion-Dollar Coty Unit

German chemicals and consumer goods Henkel AG & Co. and private equity giant KKR & Co. LP have each decided to hit the brakes on plans to bid for Coty Inc.'s professional hair and nail products business because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Wednesday report from Reuters. Rumors in early March said that Henkel and KKR were among a small group of suitors, but according to Wednesday's report, each is now unsure whether a deal would be prudent, with worries including that fallout from the coronavirus could hit Coty's balance sheet hard. Henkel only wants to buy select brands within the business, while KKR had interest in the entire unit, the report noted. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, it was reported that Coty's entire professional hair and nail products business could be worth as much as $8 billion.

Aurubis Expects To Nab EC Approval For €380M Metallo Deal

The European Commission is expected to clear Aurubis' €380 million ($412 million) deal for  copper scrap refiner Metallo Group, according to a Tuesday report from Reuters. According to the report, the EC will likely require certain divestitures, which Aurubis offered in February. A decision from the EC is expected by May 7, the report noted. Aurubis inked the deal in May of last year. In November, the EC said it was launching an in-depth investigation into the transaction, noting there were concerns that the tie-up could reduce competition.

Romanian State-Owned Power Co. Delays IPO Plans Because Of COVID-19

Romanian state-owned power producer Hidroelectrica SA is unlikely to go public this year due to complications caused by the coronavirus, according to a Tuesday report from Reuters. The report cited comments made by the manager of investment fund Fondul Proprietatea, which owns a 20% stake in Hidroelectrica. An initial public offering is more likely to be held next year, either during the second or third quarter, the report noted. Prior to the coronavirus, Hidroelectrica had expected to list on the Bucharest bourse during the second half of this year, the report said. 

Poor Financials Mean Chipmaker Won't Go Public For At Least 3 Years

Chinese-owned chipmaker Imagination Technologies Group expects to eventually become publicly listed, but poor financials mean an IPO won't take place for at least three years, according to a Tuesday report from Reuters. According to the report, the company plans to probably float in Shanghai, although other locations could be considered. The company posted an adjusted operating loss of $23 million in 2019, the report said.

Chesapeake Energy Considers Bankruptcy

Chesapeake Energy Corp. is gearing up to file for bankruptcy because of recent volatility with regards to energy prices, according to a Wednesday report from Reuters. According to the report, the company is in talks with creditors about a potential loan that would help it stay in business while it goes through the bankruptcy process. Such a loan could be worth around $1 billion, although that figure is not set in stone, the report said. Everything is still preliminary, the report cautioned, and Chesapeake has not made any firm decisions on whether to proceed with a bankruptcy filing. It could try to find other ways to deal with its debt loan, the report said.

-- Additional reporting by Nadia Dreid. Editing by Michael Watanabe.

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