MILAN — Roberto Cavalli is going under the hammer.
After months of hype and several false starts, the bidding for a stake in the privately owned fashion label is expected to kick off shortly, after the deadline for suitors to express interest closed Friday, according to sources.
WWD understands that private equity houses Blackstone Group Holdings, Candover, The Carlyle Group, Cinven and Valentino Fashion Group-owner Permira are among potential bidders.
Merrill Lynch, which is advising on the deal, is expected to distribute a formal information memorandum to a short list of interested parties in the next few days, sources said Monday. Suitors will then have two to three months to conduct due diligence before making an offer, although any sale is likely to take at least another three to four months to be completed.
Neither Cavalli, nor the majority of the parties supposedly involved in the auction, would comment on the speculation Monday. Merrill Lynch, Carlyle and Permira did not return calls seeking comment at press time.
Cavalli has spoken for 18 months of possibly selling a stake in his company. His profile has risen higher and higher over the last few years as the designer has expanded his distribution, opened more stores and, in 2007, linked up with H&M for a one-off collection that created mania from Manhattan to Tokyo.
Recent estimates value Cavalli in the region of 1.2 billion euros, or $1.89 billion at current exchange, well short of the 2 billion euro, or $3.14 billion, price tag the designer is believed to have slapped on the business he set up more than 40 years ago.
Cavalli is also understood to want to maintain a majority stake in any prospective deal and has already rejected "a couple of offers" valuing the business at around 1 billion euros, or $1.57 billion, sources said.
In 2006, Saudi Arabian private equity fund SAB Capital submitted a bid for 60 percent of the fashion label, famous for its animal-print designs, but an agreement was never reached.
Last year, Cavalli said he planned to float the business on the stock market, preferring it as a means "to grow and strengthen our business...compared to selling part of the company to new partners."He appears to have shelved those plans. However, with worsening economic conditions undermining liquidity in the marketplace, industry insiders say the designer will have to revise his valuation if he wants to line up a buyer.
Cavalli has not released official results for 2007, although sales for the year are reportedly in the region of 238 million euros, or $326.2 million. The company reported revenues of 150 million euros, or $201.8 million at average exchange, in 2006.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews