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Next and Marks & Spencer eye takeover of The Body Shop

Chloe Burney
28 May 2024

High street giants Next and Marks & Spencer have formally expressed interest in bidding for The Body Shop as an auction for the failed cosmetics company is underway. 

The Body Shop administrators launched an auction of the high street chain earlier this month after plans for a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) failed to materialise.

Administrators at FRP Advisory, which has been overseeing the collapsed business, have begun formally sounding out potential buyers. The move raises the possibility of new owners taking control of The Body Shop, founded by Dame Anita Roddick in 1976.

The chain was bought by the private equity firm Aurelius for £207 million last November, only to collapse in February. Aurelius is also preparing to table a bid to regain ownership of The Body Shop.

Next and M&S have shown interest in strengthening their third-party offerings by acquiring the collapsed beauty business. Next commenced snapping up struggling brands in recent years, including Joules and Fatface. It has been approached by several private equity and venture capital firms over a possible joint bid for The Body Shop, according to The Times.

M&S has also been building on its third-party strategy. In 2021, it purchased Jaeger and now stocks plentiful other third-party brands online including White Stuff and Nobody's Child.

A spokesperson for FRP said it had been: "encouraged by the level of interest received to date from interested parties".

"The Body Shop remains an iconic brand and following the structural changes we have made to the business since our appointment we consider it has a viable future. This will be showcased to potential acquirers during the sale process."

FRP has received expressions of interest from over 70 potential suitors, although it is likely that many will not be considered.

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