Private equity firms in the race for L'Oreal's The Body Shop worth £1 bn

Several private equity firms and South Korea's CJ Corp, the holding company for food-to-entertainment conglomerate CJ Group, are planning to bid for L'Oreal SA's brand The Body Shop.

Private equity firms interested in bidding are reported to be Advent International, Apax Partners, Carlyle Group, CVC Capital Partners and Goldman Sachs.

Last month, L'Oréal, the world's largest cosmetics company, said that it is exploring a potential sale of ethical beauty retailer The Body Shop and hired investment banking firm Lazard Limited to shop it to private equity suitors that have already shown an interest.

In 2006, L'Oréal had acquired The Body Shop from its founder Anita Roddick, for £652 million and is now reported to be seeking around £1 billion.

Founded in 1976, The Body Shop was known for its ethical products, exotic ingredients, environment-friendly practices, and although Roddick faced criticisms for selling the company to a corporate, she ensured that The Body Shop would continue following its principles and ethics, and was part of the sale agreement.

When Roddick passed away in 2007, consumers felt that The Body Shop did not fit in L'Oreal's other brands.

Last month, L'Oréal reported that The Body Shop's operating profit fell by 38 per cent to €33.8 million in the year to 31 December 2016, while sales fell by nearly 5 per cent to €920.8 million.

West Sussex-based The Body Shop is a cosmetics and skin care company having a range of 1,000 products and sold in 3,000 franchised stores in 66 countries.

It was the first international cosmetics brand to be awarded the Humane Cosmetics Standard for having against animal testing policy.