BERLIN — Renewed reports that private equity group Apax is preparing to buy a major stake in Escada — with the additional news that ex-Hugo Boss chief executive Bruno Sälzer is being eyed for the Munich fashion house’s top management position — set Escada shares surging over 30 percent in Frankfurt Wednesday.
Escada shares, which have plunged from a high of 38 euros, or $60.80, last June to a low of 12.40 euros, or $19.84, in February, advanced 34.87 percent to 17.75 euros, or $28.40, on the XETRA in Frankfurt.
According to a report in the German financial daily Handelsblatt on Wednesday, the London-based group is looking to take control of the fashion house together with current majority shareholder Rustam Aksenenko, who has a 26.73 percent stake.
A source quoted in the report said, “Apax not only wants to buy a financial stake in Escada but also to bring in new management.” That new management, according to the paper, would be lead by Sälzer, who quit his Boss post last month in a dispute over dividend and debt policy with Boss’ new private equity owner Permira.
Sälzer could not be reached for comment, and Apax and Escada declined to comment. However, a spokesman for Finartis, Aksenenko’s Geneva-based investment company, told another German financial daily, “We support the restructuring strategy and current management” of Escada.
Handelsblatt said the new ownership structure should be in place in time for Escada’s annual shareholder’s meeting on April 17.