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Carlyle Acquires Dutch Lingerie Label Hunkemöller for Nearly $300M

A private-equity firm has bought the Dutch version of Victoria’s Secret for an undisclosed sum.

The Carlyle Group, which has previously invested in such consumer and retail companies as Moncler and Sequential Brands Group, recently revealed that it had reached a conditional agreement with PAI Partners for the sale and purchase of a controlling interest in Hunkemöller, a lingerie brand based in the Netherlands.

Carlyle said capital for this investment will come from Carlyle Europe Partners IV (CEP IV), a European-focused upper-mid market buyout fund.

Further terms of the transaction were not shared, but since PAI purchased Hunkemöller in 2010 for 265 million euros (about $289.4 million today) it has grown into an omnichannel retailer with global e-commerce and more than 700 stores across continental Europe, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Aruba, Curaçao, Morocco and Bahrain.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters that Carlyle paid around 440 million euros (or $482 million).

Founded in 1886, Hunkemöller has developed a multi-channel strategy for growing its operations through brick-and-mortar stores, shop-in-shops, online and through international franchising.

“Hunkemöller has seen substantial growth over the last five years developing from a physical retailer into becoming the leading European omnichannel lingerie brand,” Philip Mountford, CEO of Hunkemöller, said in a statement. “The Carlyle Group will work with us to continue to enhance our strategic vision and grow the business further as we leverage Carlyle’s global network, its extensive experience and expertise in the retail fashion sector.”

Marco De Benedetti, managing director and co-head of The Carlyle Europe Partners, added, “We’ve admired the Hunkemöller brand for a long time, watching it transform very impressively from its roots as a Benelux retailer to becoming a major European omnichannel lingerie brand. Hunkemöller has differentiated itself from its competitors by winning market share during a challenging economic period.”

Carlyle wasn’t the only private-equity firm interested in Hunkemöller. Earlier this year it looked like Sycamore Partners was close to sealing a deal for the Dutch lingerie label, but the talks ripped at the seams.

The transaction remains subject to approval from the relevant regulatory authorities but it’s expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.