The owner of Lloyds Pharmacy, Aurelius, is understood to have joined the race to buy ethical cosmetics brand The Body Shop, as it looks to change hands again for the third time in five years.
The investment company has joined Epiris, the private equity firm, and Elliott Advisors, the owner of Waterstones in the bidding process for the popular high street brand, according to reports in Sky News.
Sources told the outlet that its owners Natura & Co, who are working with bankers at Morgan Stanley, are keen to reach a “provisional agreement on a sale by the end of this month”.
The Brazilian company bought the Body Shop from cosmetic giants L’oreal in 2017, paying £1.1bn (£880m) for the company.
L’Oreal bought the business for £600m back in 2006 when the chain was at the height of success.
The Body Shop has struggled in recent years due to fierce competition from other beauty brands – but it still has a strong presence on the UK high street with some 205 stores.
Its the latest move from Natura & Co to offload some of its beauty brands – recently selling its Australian skin care brand Aesop to L’Oreal for $2.5bn (£2bn).
At the time, The Brazilian company said that the sale will help “strengthen and deleverage its balance sheet”.
Natura & Co acquired Avon for £1.6bn in 2019 and is also looking to inject some of the funds from the sale into the “optimisation” of the catalogue cosmetic brand’s “international footprint”.
City A.M has contacted Aurelius and Natura & Co for a comment.