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  • Centuries-old scent maker Creed is popular with celebrities
  •  Luxury perfume is powering ahead as mass brands struggle

BlackRock Inc.’s private equity vehicle agreed to buy Creed, a family-owned luxury fragrance maker, in its first European acquisition.

BlackRock’s Long Term Private Capital is acquiring a majority of the centuries-old perfume company from Olivier Creed for an undisclosed amount, according to a statement on Wednesday. Javier Ferran — the chairman of drinks giant Diageo Plc — will become chairman and an investor in Creed as part of the deal.

LTPC is part of BlackRock’s effort to build up its business in alternative assets. The world’s largest money manager started the private equity fund in 2018 with the goal of raising $12 billion to buy all or part of companies. The fund has raised $3.85 billion from investors and its own capital pool so far.

Creed says it was founded in 1760 in London as a luxury-goods maker by Henry Creed and now has operations and sales around the world. The name has become popular among perfume connoisseurs, celebrities and the fashion set. Its fragrances include Green Irish Tweed and Fleurissimo, which were made for Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, respectively, according to media reports.

The acquisition fits LTPC’s model of scouting for family-owned businesses and pursuing long-term themes such as demographics and millennial spending patterns. LTPC’s managers are willing to hold investments for longer than the period of three to five years that’s typical with buyout funds.

Under the BlackRock deal, Ferran will work closely with Olivier Creed, a direct descendant of the founder, and his son Erwin, according to the statement.

“In the next three to five years, we have a clear strategy to grow and expand the business, but with a real focus on preserving and enhancing the great history and heritage of Creed,” said Dag Skattum, head of the European office at LTPC.

LTPC struck its first deal in 2019, backing Authentic Brands Group, a company that manages brands including Sports Illustrated and Juicy Couture.

Written by Aaron Kirchfeld for Bloomberg

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