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.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty