UPDATE 1-L'Occitane's billionaire owner to take firm private in $1.8 bln deal

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Adds details on deal, background throughout

- Hong Kong-listed L'Occitane International's 0973.HK chairman and controlling shareholder will take the French skin-care firm private, valuing it at a maximum of HK$13.91 billion ($1.78 billion), the company said on Monday.

Reuters reported in early April that L'Occitane's Chairman Reinold Geiger was in advanced talks with investors and lenders about the deal, with U.S. private equity giant Blackstone BX.N looking to provide debt financing to fund the deal.

As part of the deal, Austrian billionaire Geiger's investment holding company L'Occitane Groupe in Luxembourg will pay HK$34 for each share not already owned, representing a 30.8% premium to the stock's last close of HK$26 on Feb. 5.

L'Occitane Groupe owned 72.39% of the cosmetics company at March-end.

The investment holding firm does not intend to increase the offer price for the deal, which comes a few months after Geiger shelved a buyout attempt for the company.

L'Occitane International's shares, which were halted on April 9, will resume trading on Tuesday.


($1 = 7.8265 Hong Kong dollars)


(Reporting by Roushni Nair and Himanshi Akhand in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Shounak Dasgupta)

((Himanshi.Akhand@thomsonreuters.com))

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