Exclusive-Louis Vuitton-backed L Catterton explores public listing -sources By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Bernard Arnault, Chief Executive Officer of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, attends the company’s shareholders meeting in Paris, France, April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

By Anirban Sen and David French

(Reuters) – L Catterton, the private equity firm backed by French billionaire Bernard Arnault and luxury goods empire Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, is exploring options to go public, according to people familiar with the matter.

L Catteron’s deliberations come as the shares of publicly listed private equity firms are hovering at record highs.

Peers TPG and Bridgepoint Group are preparing for stock market debuts, while Owl Rock Capital (NYSE:) Group and Dyal Capital Partners went public in May in a three-way merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

L Catterton has held discussions with investment banks in recent weeks to evaluate its potential options, which could include an initial public offering or a SPAC merger, the sources said.

The sources cautioned that discussions are at an early stage and no final decision has been made.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because the deliberations are confidential.

L Catterton declined to comment.

Headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut, L Catterton manages more than $28 billion in assets. It was created in 2016 as a joint venture between consumer-focused private equity firm Catterton, Louis Vuitton owner LVMH and Groupe Arnault, Arnault’s family holding.

It has been a prolific investor and acquirer of luxury consumer businesses, such as German footwear brand Birkenstock and upscale fitness brands Equinox and Peloton Interactive (NASDAQ:) Inc. It has invested in more than 200 retail businesses.

Several of its portfolio companies are currently evaluating options to go public or have gone public over the past year, including Honest Co, founded by Hollywood actress Jessica Alba, and car retailer Vroom Inc.

The shares of publicly listed managers of assets such as private equity have soared in recent months, as the stock market rally boosted the value of their holdings and low interest rates allowed them to use cheap debt to juice returns on their deals.

Private equity firms Blackstone Group (NYSE:) Inc, KKR & Co (NYSE:), Apollo Global Management (NYSE:) and Carlyle Group (NASDAQ:) have gained between 21.4% and 58% this year, outperforming the 16.1% advance by the .

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