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L'Oréal to sell The Body Shop to Brazilian

A Body Shop in Sutton High Street, London Wikimedia/CC

French beauty products giant L'Oréal said on Friday it was in exclusive negotiations to sell The Body Shop, which it has owned for over a decade, to a Brazilian company.

Brazil's Natura Cosmeticos has put one billion euros on the table in an "irrevocable bid" to buy the British-based retailer, founded in 1976 and specialising in natural beauty products, L'Oréal said.

The French company has been trying to sell The Body Shop for several months and Natura "is the best possible owner to nourish the DNA" of the retailer, L'Oréal CEO Jean-Paul Agon said in a statement.

The sale is expected to be finalised during the second half of the year.

Natura Cosmeticos called The Body Shop, which has 3,000 stores in 60 countries, an "iconic" brand.

"Natura and The Body Shop have always evolved along parallel paths and today their paths cross," Natura co-chairman Guilherme Leal said in a separate statement.

Ethical cosmetics

Founded by the late Anita Roddick, The Body Shop saw huge growth rates with an ethical approach to cosmetics, notably by ruling out animal testing, and campaigning on social and environmental issues.

L'Oréal bought the brand for around 940 million euros in 2006 when it was at the height of its success.

But since then The Body Shop's performance has been declining.

Last year its sales fell 4.8 percent and its profit margin dropped to 3.7 percent, far below the double-digit margins achieved by L'Oréal's other brands.

Natura Cosmeticos is present in seven Latin American countries and in France and claims the number one spot in Brazil's cosmetic, fragrance and toiletry industry, stating as its aim to "improve the environment and society".