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Catterton merges with European investment firm

L Catterton will be the world’s largest consumer-focused private equity group

Frequent restaurant investor Catterton said Tuesday that it is merging with the investment subsidiaries of LVMH, a French luxury products conglomerate, in an unusual combination of private-equity groups.

The new firm, L Catterton, combines Catterton’s private-equity operations in North and Latin America with the European and Asian private-equity and real estate operations of LVMH and Groupe Arnault, which operate under the names L Capital and L Real Estate.

Partners of L Catterton will own 60 percent of the new company, while LVMH and Groupe Arnault — the family holding company of French entrepreneur Bernard Arnault — will own the remaining 40 percent. Catterton’s managing partners, J. Michael Chu and Scott A. Dahnke, will be global co-CEOs of L Catterton.

The firm says it will be the world’s largest consumer-focused private-equity group.

“We are delighted to partner with Catterton and its team,” Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH and Groupe Arnault, said in a statement. “L Catterton will provide investors with a unique value creation platform, bringing together our global network and industry expertise with Catterton’s long-standing operational approach to building value in consumer investments.”

Arnault also cited Catterton’s “strong track record and distinctive culture.” LVMH and Groupe Arnault have been investors in Catterton’s funds since 1998.

Catterton, based in Greenwich, Conn., has long been an investor in growth restaurant concepts, such as the salad chain Chop't, the fast-casual Italian chain Piada, Mendocino Farms, Noodles & Company, Protein Bar and Snap Kitchen.

LVMH is a large conglomerate, with 60 subsidiaries that own various luxury brands, including wine, fashion such as Dior, perfumes, and watches like Bulgari and TAG Heuer.

Its private-equity funds were founded in 2001 and focus on lifestyle and retail brands in Europe.

The new company will be based in Greenwich and London. L Catterton expects its assets under management will grow to $12 billion. The deal is expected to close early this year.

Contact Jonathan Maze at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze

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