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The logo of British cosmetics and skin care company The Body Shop is seen outside a store in Vienna, Austria, June 4, 2016. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

(reuters_tickers)

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's Investindustrial has placed a bid to buy British beauty retailer The Body Shop, the founder of the private equity firm Andrea Bonomi said on Tuesday.

The sale by L'Oreal, which has owned the company since 2006, has drawn interest from a series of private equity investors and a decision is expected in the coming months.

The Body Shop was a pioneer in the ethical beauty product industry four decades ago but was recently been challenged by weakening sales and profits, prompting the decision to sell it.

"We are trying (to buy it) and if we manage to do so, we hope a woman will lead it," Bonomi said.

Italian media has previously reported Investindustrial's plans to name former L'Oreal Italy country head Cristina Scocchia at the helm of the cosmetics group if it succeeded in the acquisition.

L'Oreal declined to comment.

(Reporting by Massimo Gaia and Valentina Za, additional reporting from Pascale Denis in Paris, writing by Giulia Segreti)

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