PARIS — Regis Corp. plans to sell a majority stake in its franchise salon operations in Continental Europe to Franck Provost Salon Group, the companies announced Tuesday. Once the deal is inked, which is expected to happen in January, it will create the largest hair salon company in Europe, called Provalliance.

Financial terms of the agreement, which doesn't include Regis' operations in the U.K., were not disclosed.

"It is very good for our development," said Franck Provost, founder and chairman of Paris-based Franck Provost, of the deal. "We will become number one in Europe and number two in the world.

On a global basis, Franck Provost is second to Regis, based in Minneapolis, whose Jean Louis David, Saint Algue, Coiff & Co., City Looks and Intermede salon businesses on the Continent will become part of Provalliance.

The new entity is also to comprise Franck Provost's activities, such as Franck Provost, Fabio Salsa and Niwel salons, plus licenses. These include one with LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton for Jean Louis David accessories, another with L'Oréal for Jean Louis David hair products and a third with Henkel for Saint Algue hair products.

"We will conserve the identity of all of our brands," continued Provost, who isn't ruling out other acquisitions.

Regis is to retain a 30 percent stake in Provalliance, while the remaining share is to be owned by Franck Provost Salon Group. That company, in turn, is 70 percent held by the Provost family and 30 percent owned by Invus.

Provalliance's operations will include eight brands and more than 2,200 company-owned and franchised salons boasting some 25 million clients. It is expected to generate more than $200 million in revenues and $900 million-plus in system-wide sales.

The Franck Provost Salon Group, founded in 1975, runs approximately 200 wholly owned salons and 400 franchised locations. It is the salon leader in Italy and has a strong presence in Spain and Poland, according to the firm, whose annual sales are $140 million and system-wide revenues top $300 million.

Regis is the worldwide leader in beauty salons and hair-restoration centers. It operates more than 12 holdings, including Supercuts, Vidal Sassoon and Regis Salons. It has 12,000 wholly owned, coowned and franchised salons, principally in the U.S.The company posted sales of $668 million, up 4 percent in the first quarter of its fiscal year, ended Sept. 30, versus the same period last year.

Regis said it does not expect its proposed transaction with the Franck Provost Salon Group to have material impact on its fiscal 2008 operating results.

Regis is no stranger to mergers. Last year, talks took place to merge Regis' salon business with Sally Beauty's stores, BSG outlets and sales force. However, the deal unraveled when Regis rejected the transaction after the board of Sally's parent, Alberto-Culver Co., had misgivings about Regis' 2007 outlook and declared that it no longer supported the transaction.
— Jennifer Weil

Claiborne, Selective Beauty Join Up

PARIS — Liz Claiborne Cosmetics has appointed Selective Beauty as its European distribution partner for the Usher and Juicy Couture fragrance brands.

Selective Beauty, an international distributor and manufacturer of fragrances and cosmetics based here, will launch the Usher for Men and Usher for Women scents in the U.K. and Ireland in 2008. This month, it is introducing Juicy Couture's signature scent in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands through an exclusive partnership with Douglas perfumery chain. And, in January, Selective Beauty will bow Juicy Couture in France and Italy.
— Ellen Groves

Evrard to Head L'Oréal Acquisitions

PARIS — L'Oréal has appointed Alain Evrard as head of acquisitions.

He replaces Pascal Leroux, who will retire at the beginning of next year.

Evrard has been with the French beauty giant for more than 25 years. Since 1997, he has held the posts of managing director of L'Oréal's Africa-Orient-Pacific zone and of managing director of the Africa-Asia-Pacific zone. In 1987, Evrard became managing director of L'Oréal in Denmark. Between 1983 and 1986, he was chief financial officer and then deputy managing director of L'Oréal's LaScad France subsidiary. Evrard joined L'Oréal in 1981 as cfo of the Latin American zone.

As head of acquisitions, a job that is effective this month, Evrard will report to Christian Mulliez, L'Oréal's executive vice president of administration and finance.
— E.G.

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