Tod’s SpA chairman and chief executive officer Diego Della Valle has doubled his investment in Saks Inc. in the past month and now owns 5.9 percent of the retailer’s common shares.
According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing released late Friday, the Italian luxury goods mogul has acquired 8.48 million shares of Saks since Feb. 20 for total consideration of $30.3 million, or an average of $3.57 a share. Half of those shares have been acquired since April 28 at prices ranging from $3.49 to $3.83.
The shareholding was first reported on WWD.com late Friday. Saks’ shares closed Friday at $3.34, down 26 cents, or 7.2 percent.
Della Valle made the purchases through his investment vehicle Diego Della Valle & C. S.A.P.A., and the last of them, on May 7, was executed just as he reduced his stake in Tod’s to 64.8 percent. The SEC filing reported the stock buys since April 28 were made through “authorized brokers,” but it isn’t known whether Della Valle took on any of the shares shed on March 10, when 13.8 million shares of Saks common stock were sold for $1.50 each.
A month later, Marsico Capital Management, previously the second-largest Saks shareholder, told the SEC it had sold all but about 600 of its 20.2 million shares of Saks stock.
Della Valle controls 64 percent of the investment firm, according to the SEC filing.
Through Inmobiliaria Carso, Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helú remains Saks’ biggest investor, with 25.6 million shares, or about 18.6 percent of those outstanding. Slim also has a Saks poison pill provision staring him in the face if he were to exceed a 20 percent stake.
Della Valle’s acquisitions of Saks shares prior to April weren’t registered with the SEC because his stake was under 5 percent, the threshold at which ownership positions are required to be reported. But Friday’s disclosure places him squarely in the center of major shareholders in the retailing firm, behind only Slim and a number of institutional investors.
It also puts him in the unusual position of being a vendor-owner as Tod’s is a supplier of women’s shoes and handbags, men’s shoes and children’s shoes to Saks. Tod’s SpA owns the Tod’s, Hogan, Fay and Roger Vivier brands, and Della Valle also has invested in the Vionnet fashion house. Last week, Tod’s reported that its first-quarter operating profits were up 1.8 percent, to 37.9 million euros, or $49.6 million at average exchange, as revenues increased 5.4 percent to 201.3 million euros, or $263.3 million.
Della Valle’s entrepreneurial instincts haven’t been restricted to luxury goods, however. One of Italy’s leading businessmen, his investments, which have reportedly put him within striking distance of billionaire status, include RCS Media Group, which owns the newspaper Corriere della Sera; Banca Nazionale del Lavoro; furniture producer Poltrona Frau; film studio Cinecittà; eyewear marketer Marcolin, and Piaggio, a motorcycle firm. Another unusual aspect of the Saks stake is that it appears to be one of Della Valle’s few overseas shareholdings.
Employing boilerplate language, the SEC filing, Schedule 13D, indicated that the purchases of Saks stock were made for investment purposes.
Della Valle couldn’t be reached at press time Friday. Calls to Saks seeking comment weren’t returned.
In Saks, he has picked up a stake in one of the retail companies hit worst by the recession, as spending on high-end goods has hit a firewall. The company reports first-quarter results on Tuesday, but its sales for the period, reported May 7, declined 27 percent to $615.1 million from $842.5 million in the first quarter of 2008. Comparable-store sales, down 31.3 percent in April, are off 27.6 percent so far this year.
The exposure to investor sentiment has made the company’s shares especially vulnerable, falling from a 52-week high of $14.58 one year ago to a low of $1.50 on March 10. Since then, they’ve closed as high as $5.18 on May 4, as Wall Street has reconsidered whether or not fashion retail stocks were taken down too far in the anxiety that swept over the markets following the financial disruptions of September and October.
Last year, the retailer posted a net loss of $154.9 million, nearly two-thirds of it in the fourth quarter, as sales slid 6 percent to $3.22 billion.
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye