Byline: Katherine Weisman

PARIS — The house of Thierry Mugler could soon be controlled by Clarins, Mugler’s fragrance partner.
Clarins’s international division president Christian Courtin confirmed market rumors Thursday that his company is negotiating to buy an additional 20 percent stake in Mugler Triumverat, a holding company that is 36 percent owned by Mugler’s three founders, Thierry Mugler, Mugler president Didier Grumbach and Michel Duard. This 20 percent share is currently owned by silent partner Georges Pebereau through his Marceau Investissement holding company. Pebereau is in the process of liquidating his assets.
Clarins already owns about 39 percent of Mugler Triumverat, while French bank Banexi owns the remainder. If the transaction is completed, Clarins would hold a controlling 59 percent interest in Triumverat. Clarins also owns 79 percent of Thierry Mugler Parfums.
Mugler communications director Sylvie Elles also confirmed that negotiations were under way, but that nothing has been signed. Grumbach was traveling and could not be reached for comment.
Mugler’s 20 percent stake has been valued at about $17.5 million (100 million francs), according to observers. Mugler’s 1996 fashion sales were estimated to be roughly $43.9 million (250 million francs), while the perfume sales, generated mainly by the women’s Angel fragrance, were $40.4 million (230 million francs) last year, Courtin confirmed. Figures for the men’s fragrance Amen, launched last year, could not be learned.
Courtin denied rumors that if the transaction were to go through, Clarins would replace Grumbach as head of Mugler.
More information about the deal will likely be disclosed at the Clarins annual meeting in Paris on Tuesday.

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