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Beauty Retailer Douglas' $967 Million IPO Off to a Rocky Start

Published March 21, 2024
Published March 21, 2024

Douglas owner CVC Capital Partners planned to capitalize on a rebound in European listings after holding the investment for nine years since acquiring the retailer from Advent International. However, the listing is off to a rocky start. Shares fell more than 12% on their return to the Frankfurt stock market in the country’s largest IPO since 2022.

WHO: The German-based beauty retailer Douglas was founded in 1821. Headquartered in Düsseldorf, the business is the leading omnichannel premium beauty destination in Europe, with 1,850 stores in 22 countries.

WHY: Backed by CVC Capital Partners and the Kreke family, Douglas will use the IPO proceeds of €850 million to pay off debt. Its owners have also committed to injecting around €300 million to bolster the retailer's balance sheet.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Sander van der Laan, CEO Douglas Group, said, “The significant investor interest in the Douglas Group underlines the exceptional work our team has accomplished in recent months. We look forward to continuing to drive our long-term growth with our strategy ‘Let it Bloom’ to further meet our customer needs and offer a unique assortment of the most relevant and distinctive range of brands.”


  • The IPO marks a return to the stock market for the retailer, with 31.8% of shares in free float. 
  • Douglas is trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under the symbol DOU.
  • The total offer size amounts to around €890 million ($967 million) with gross proceeds for Douglas of around €850 million ($929 million), which corresponds to a market capitalization of around €2.8 billion ($3.05 billion)
  • Shares fell more than 12% on the first day of trading. The stock opened at €25.50 on Thursday and traded as low as €22.7.
  • CVC Capital Partners indirectly holds around 54.4% and the Kreke family indirectly holds around 10.2% after the IPO.
  • Douglas operates 1,850 perfume stores in 22 countries, with one-third of the revenue coming online. 
  • In the financial year 2023, Douglas achieved net sales of €4.1 billion. The largest markets are Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands, and Poland.
  • Douglas was delisted in 2013 after a joint takeover by financial investor Advent International and the Kreke family. 
  • In 2015, CVC acquired Douglas from rival buyout firm Advent International in a deal worth almost €3 billion.
  • Citigroup and Goldman Sachs were acting as Joint Process Banks, Joint Global Coordinators, and Joint Bookrunners in connection with the concluded transaction. Deutsche Bank, UBS, and UniCredit were acting as additional Joint Global Coordinators and Joint Bookrunners. BNP Paribas, CVC Capital Markets, and Jefferies had also been appointed as Joint Bookrunners. Intesa Sanpaolo, LBBW, and RBI acted as additional Co-Lead Managers.

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