LONDON — Manzanita Capital, the London-based private equity fund, has purchased the privately owned French scent and candle company Diptyque for an undisclosed sum. Manzanita said in a statement last Friday it planned to build Diptyque through its existing points of sale and fortify the infrastructure of the business.

The statement said Diptyque’s founders, Yves Coueslant and Christiane Gautrot, would remain closely involved in the company, along with chief executive Mohamed Lataoui, who will become chairman of the supervisory board.

“We felt that Manzanita, as a family-run fund, had the right blend of vision and expertise to take the business forward, as well as the commitment to develop the business,” said Coueslant. William Fisher, Manzanita’s co-founder, said he was attracted by Diptyque’s “purity and integrity.”

The company declined to release sales figures, but, in the U.S. alone, Diptyque is reportedly a $10 million business.

Manzanita was founded in 2002 by Fisher, formerly head of the Gap’s international retail business, and Katherine Hood, whose background is in banking and private equity. Manzanita’s other major investment to date is a stake in the London-based, multibrand beauty retailer Space NK.

Diptyque was founded in 1961, and, in 1963, the firm introduced its first scented candle, Hawthorn. Five years later, it came out with its first eau de toilette, called L’Eau. The company’s flagship is on Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris and it has stores in San Francisco and Boston.

This story first appeared in the April 13, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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