Blackstone taps Morgan Stanley for sale of camera maker Leica: sources

The ticker and trading information for Blackstone Group is displayed at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Buyout group Blackstone BX.N has tasked Morgan Stanley MS.N with finding a buyer for its 45 percent stake in German iconic camera maker Leica, people close to the matter said on Monday.

While no auction has been officially launched, the private equity firm has started holding meetings with potential future investors such as family offices, the people added.

Blackstone and Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

Blackstone hopes to reap a valuation similar to that of luxury goods makers and sports optics peers, some of which trade at 12-14 times their expected core earnings, a premium to mass market camera makers such as Canon 7751.T and Nikon 7731.T, which trade at roughly half that.

Leica is expected to report earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of roughly 70 million euros ($84 million) this year. If valued in line with luxury groups it could fetch an enterprise value of 840-980 million euros ($1 to $1.17 billion).

Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Georgina Prodhan