US takeover likely for Douglas perfume chain

Founders of German perfume and cosmetics retailer Douglas said on Monday that they would be teaming up with US private equity group Advent International to launch a €1.5 billion takeover of the group.

US takeover likely for Douglas perfume chain
Photo: DPA

Advent is offering €38 per share for all outstanding shares in the publicly-listed retailer, Douglas said in a statement.

With €39.4 million shares in issue that would value the company at €1.497 billion.

Douglas said the group’s three main family shareholders – Oetker with 25.8 percent, Kreke with 12.78 percent and Müller with 10.8 percent – had all agreed to accept the offer and Advent so far had assurances for at least 50.5 percent of the company’s share capital.

Upon completion of the takeover, the Kreke family would then take a 20 percent stake in the investment vehicle making the offer, Beauty Holding Three AG, with the other 80 percent held by investment funds operated by Advent International.

“This takeover offer is based on the mutual intent of the Douglas founders, the Kreke family, and Advent International to fine-tune and implement a successful long strategy for the Douglas group,” the statement said.

Douglas, which also sells jewellery, chocolates and books, has annual sales of more than €3.0 billion and operates a network of some 2,000 stores across Europe.

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Germany welcomes US troop withdrawal freeze under Biden

The German government on Friday welcomed a decision by President Joe Biden to put on hold plans to reduce US troops in Germany, saying their presence was in the countries' mutual interest.

Germany welcomes US troop withdrawal freeze under Biden
An American soldier stationed in Germany, in front of Dresden's Military History Museum in 2016. Photo: DPA

“We have always been convinced that American troops being stationed here in Germany serves European and transatlantic security and hence is in our mutual interest,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters.

As part of a major foreign and security policy overhaul presented Thursday, Biden announced a freeze on plans set in motion by his predecessor Donald Trump to reduce the US troop presence in Germany, a cornerstone of NATO security since the start of the Cold War.

READ ALSO: What could Joe Biden as US president mean for Germany?

Trump's decision was seen as linked to his tense relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and his frequent complaints that Europe's top economy spent too little on defence.

The United States has had US troops stationed in Germany since World War II but their numbers have declined since the fall of the Berlin Wall from some 200,000 soldiers in 1990 to 34,500 today.

Although the prospect had been looming for years, Trump's decision in July to redeploy 12,000 soldiers from Germany still came as a shock, particularly to towns that have built strong economic and cultural ties to the US military.

READ ALSO: Trump to withdraw 'thousands of US soldiers from Germany' under Biden

“We strongly value the close, decades-long cooperation with the American troops stationed in Germany,” Seibert said.

He said the communities hosting GIs appreciated their presence, calling the bases “part of the lived transatlantic friendship”.  

Seibert said German officials were in “consultations” with the US administration about “further planning” but that the decision how to shape the future American military footprint in Europe was a “US domestic issue”.