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Puig buys contemporary fragrance label Byredo

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By Mimosa Spencer

PARIS (Reuters) - Spanish fashion and perfume company Puig said on Tuesday it has purchased a majority stake in luxury label Byredo, the latest in a string of acquisitions of niche fragrance and cosmetics labels by larger groups.

The transaction comes as cosmetics and fashion groups rush to meet demand for high-end perfumes and accessories -- a market that has performed strongly in recent months, with companies like L'Oreal flagging strong growth in sales of its luxury products.

Barcelona-based Puig, which owns fashion labels Jean Paul Gaultier and Paco Rabanne as well as British makeup brand Charlotte Tilbury, said that Byredo founder Ben Gorham would continue to steer creative direction of the brand while UK-based investment fund Manzanita Capital would stay on as investors. Financial transactions of the deal were not revealed.

The French daily Le Figaro earlier this month said that L'Oreal was finalizing plans to purchase Byredo from Manzanita in a deal that valued the company at 1 billion euros. L'Oreal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last year, L'Oreal sales came to 32.28 billion euros while Puig sales were 2.59 billion euros ($2.78 billion).

Byredo, which was founded in Stockholm in 2006, sells candles with scents like "Woods" and "Burning Rose" priced at 65 euros ($69.80), as well as leather accessories and hair perfume.

LVMH last year bought Officine Universelle Buly 1803, a historic French label relaunched in 2014 that sells perfumes, scented candles and lacquered toothbrushes, while L'Oreal purchased Youth to the People, a California-based vegan skincare company founded in 2015.

($1 = 0.9313 euro)

(The story corrects L'Oreal annual sales figure in 5th paragraph.)

(Reporting by Mimosa Spencer; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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