British ethical cosmetics retailer The Body Shop is the target of a £600m bid from a Chinese healthcare company, according to reports.
Renhe Pharmacy Co has said it might want to participate in the auction of the retailer by L’Oreal, the French cosmetics group, according to Sky News.
Renhe is mainly focused on products for its domestic Chinese market, with 6,000 employees, according to its website.
In February L’Oreal put the company up for sale. It acquired The Body Shop more than a decade ago for just over £650m from original founder Dame Anita Roddick and her husband Gordon, but the brand has suffered a steady decline in profits since 2012.
L’Oreal had previously floated a price tag of as much as £850m for the ethical beauty brand, but has struggled to 2006 for £652m from original founder Dame Anita Roddick and her husband Gordon.
The number of shops has grown by 1,000 in the past decade, but it has struggled to convert the expansion into stronger revenue growth. L’Oreal chief executive Jean-Paul Agon had initially planned an expansion that was three times bigger.
Founded in Brighton, the chain now has stores in 66 countries, but total sales in 2016 of €920.8m (£800m) fell from €967.2m the previous year.
Other potential buyers of the brand included private equity group CVC Capital Partners and Investindustrial Andrea Bonomi, the billionaire investor behind Aston Martin.