In July, Mayhoola for Investments, an investment vehicle backed by a private investor group from Qatar, agreed to acquire Valentino Fashion Group SpA. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Milan-based sources peg the price tag at around 700 million euros, or $907 million at current exchange.
This story first appeared in the October 15, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The agreement was signed between Mayhoola and Red & Black Lux Sarl, a company indirectly controlled by Permira Funds in partnership with the Marzotto family.
Through the acquisition of VFG, Mayhoola acquires 100 percent of Valentino SpA and the M Missoni licensed business. The MCS Marlboro Classics is being carved out from VFG and will remain under the ownership of Red & Black, which will also continue its majority ownership of Hugo Boss.
It is understood Mayhoola is controlled by Qatar’s royal family. The new owners are keeping a low profile and declined to be interviewed for this article.
Various investment vehicles from the Arab state have been on a luxury and retail spending spree in the past few years. Qatar Holding LLC, which was established in 2006 and invests on behalf of the State of Qatar as it is linked to the Gulf nation’s royal family, took control of Harrods for a reported $2.22 billion in 2010; it has a 1.03 percent stake in LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and a 5.2 percent share in Tiffany & Co. It also bought 26 percent of British supermarket J. Sainsbury in 2010. Last year, Qatar became the largest shareholder in French media group Lagardère SCA, with a 12.8 percent stake.
Valentino chief executive officer Stefano Sassi said this is just a first step. “There could be more aheadand surely they are entering the luxury world from the front door, taking control of a brand with such fame. They, and we, will work together for this brand to be successful. This is fundamental.” Sassi remains at the helm of the company, along with creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli.
At the time of the acquisition, which will be finalized before yearend, Mayhoola issued a statement saying it was “impressed” by the work of Chiuri, Piccioli and Sassi.
“Their ability to blend the aesthetic values of the founder, Valentino Garavani, with a contemporary and sophisticated vision, has been instrumental in enhancing the brand’s relevance and establishing a platform with significant potential. Our vision is to back management for the long term.”