November 30, 2016 / 4:05 PM / a year ago

Thom Europe hires advisers for $1 bln-plus sale or IPO - sources

LONDON, Nov 30 (Reuters) - The owners of jewellery retailer Thom Europe have hired banks to advise on a potential sale or initial public offering (IPO) that could value the company at more than 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The Paris-based business, majority-held by European private equity fund Bridgepoint, has picked Rothschild and Goldman Sachs for a “dual-track” process next year to look at both a sale and an IPO, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Thom Europe in June reported annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 117 million euros, one of the sources said.

The appointment of advisers follows Reuters’ exclusive report last month that the company was interviewing banks as it looks to expand across Europe.

Created from the 2010 merger of French chains Histoire d‘Or and Marc Orian, Thom has about 1,000 directly-operated stores in France, Italy, Germany and the Benelux where it sells various jewellery brands.

The company, which recently took over rivals Stroili in Italy and Oro Vivo in Germany, employs more than 5,000 people and has been backed by France-based Apax, Altamir and Qualium Investissement since 2010.

Thom said in October those purchases would give it proforma annual sales in excess of 620 million euros.

Officials at Thom Europe, Bridgepoint and Apax declined to comment while Goldman Sachs, Rothschild, Altamir and Qualium Investissement were not immediately available.

Thom, which also operates e-commerce sites, could be valued at about 10 times its core earnings, two of the sources said, reflecting industry multiples.

One of them said the process was more likely to result in a sale than an IPO because capital market conditions remain tough.

The company - which operates in the market for affordable, rather than luxury goods - is expected to draw interest from other private equity funds, who could take over from Bridgepoint and Apax and help drive expansion.

$1 = 0.9422 euros Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Mark Potter

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