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Coty Pushes IPO Back Until First Half 2013

The beauty company originally had planned to raise $700 million for investors through an initial public offering in October.

NEW YORK — Michele Scannavini is going to have a few more months to get comfortable as chief executive officer of Coty Inc. before facing Wall Street.

The beauty company, which had planned to raise $700 million for investors through an initial public offering in October, is now going to wait until next year.

“They want to give Michele some time to get his feet wet,” according to a financial source familiar with the situation. “That’s why it was pushed back into, it’s likely to be [the first quarter], but it could be [the second quarter].”

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The source said the company’s recent results haven’t “thrilled” and that Coty was waiting until its earnings came out before going to Wall Street.

“It was strictly Coty’s decision,” the source said.

A spokeswoman for the company did not reply to requests for comment by press time.

Coty has taken a circuitous path to the public markets, proceeded by a high-profile but ultimately unsuccessful effort to take over the ailing Avon Products Inc.

When Coty bared its soul, and financial results, to investors in its IPO papers in June, it seemed like Plan B had gone firmly into effect. But then Bernd Beetz, architect of the company’s current success and its longtime ceo, said just a month later that he was handing the torch to Scannavini, then president of Coty Prestige, on Aug. 1.

Observers saw that timing was awkward and sure to give some on Wall Street pause. Investors buying into a company that’s just starting out in the public markets want to know exactly what they’re getting.

Beetz built Coty into a $4.1 billion powerhouse through a series of acquisitions and deals in celebrity fragrance category with stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Beyoncé Knowles, Halle Berry and Heidi Klum. He remains on the Coty board as non-executive director and owns 6.2 million shares of the company, giving him a 1.6 percent stake.

Even though the delay of the IPO, some details of which were first reported by Bloomberg News Monday, was said to be an internal matter and not indicative of current market conditions, companies looking to go public have been chastened by Facebook’s very high-profile fumble since its debut in May. The social media darling has seen more than 50 percent of its value evaporate to the whims of investors and what was broadly see as a flawed IPO process.

Even so, it is not unusual for companies to take their time with an offering. Toys ‘R’ Us filed its IPO paperwork in May 2010 and is still waiting in the wings. Neiman Marcus is also courting investors and waiting to take the plunge with a registration filing.

Other companies have also taken a step back from the markets.

In May, the fine jewelry sector saw a chilly wind blow through it when Graff Diamonds Corp. pulled its planned IPO in Hong Kong just as the firm was finishing up its road show in Manhattan. Word trickled out that the high-end jeweler was having trouble receiving orders for the planned offering.

That made Graff the first among the luxury-fashion firms to hit a brick wall despite successful IPOs by Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. and Tumi Holdings Inc. in New York, and Brunello Cucinelli SpA in Milan.

The global equity markets have been volatile throughout much of the summer, given the concerns in Europe over the economies of several nations, including Spain and Italy.

The global economic backdrop is also changing the dynamics of the consumer market in beauty. Core Western markets have seen consumers pull back on the premium products as they deal with economic woes and debt. Emerging markets are where growth is expected, but that strength is still primarily in the mass market sector.

The Coty IPO is being led by Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley.