September 28, 2017 / 2:34 PM / a year ago

LPC: Carlyle explores sale of in-store marketer Array

NEW YORK, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Private equity firm The Carlyle Group is exploring a sale of portfolio company Array Marketing Group, a Canadian provider of retail merchandising displays, that could value it as much as US$1bn, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Carlyle is working with investment banks Jefferies and Robert W. Baird to seek out potential buyers for the Toronto-based company, the sources said.

The sources asked not to be identified because the details of the sale process are confidential. Jefferies and Carlyle declined to comment. Array and Baird did not respond to requests for comment.

While Array services customers in the troubled retail industry, it caters predominantly to cosmetics and beauty stores. That segment is considered less vulnerable to the online competition that has bled a number of brick and mortar retailers, because shopping for makeup is experiential and requires trialing in person, one of the sources said.

Cosmetics and fragrance store chain Ulta Beauty, for example, which is one of Array's customers, reported a 23.7% increase in net sales last year, according to company filings. The company plans to open approximately 100 new stores in 2017, after 104 openings in 2016.

Array is being marketed on projected 2017 adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, of US$82m, the sources said.

Carlyle acquired Array in 2015 for an undisclosed sum. The company went on to purchase a 50 percent stake in Vulkan Retail, a Mexico City-based manufacturer of retail fixtures and displays for brands including Sephora, Victoria’s Secret and Puma, in August 2016. In May, Array bought Summit Manufacturing, a New York-based provider of point of sale merchandising. (Reporting by Andrew Berlin; Editing by Michelle Sierra)

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