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M1 to Acquire Pepe Jeans

Lebanese investment holdings group, M1, is said to be acquiring Pepe Jeans Group. An official confirmation of the transaction is expected in the next few days.

M1, which acquired high-end French brand Façonnable in 2007 from Nordstrom, raised the highest bid, beating out French venture capital fund PAI Partners, a shareholder of Cortefiel. The investment group also has a strong presence in the real estate market, telecommunications and air carriers.

The deal will close at about 900 million euros (about $1 billion), which is three times Pepe Jeans’ worth four years ago. The brand, however, has steadily gained value. It closed the previous year in March 2014 with a rise in sales of 6 percent to $581 million.

Pepe Jeans hired Morgan Stanley to explore the sale of the business in July 2014. The company has been attracting interest from buyout firms including KKR & Co., Permira Advisers LLP, CVC Capital Partners Ltd. and PAI Partners SAS.

Negotiations have been conducted by the owners of Pepe Jeans owner L Capital, Morgan Stanley, Arta Capital and Torreal Group, the investment vehicle of Pepe owner Juan Abelló.