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Carlyle Group Sheds Stake in Moncler

CEP III, controlled by The Carlyle Group, has sold more than 17.8 million shares in the luxury firm, pulling out of the company.

MILAN — The Carlyle Group has sold its remaining shares in Moncler SpA.

This story first appeared in the June 23, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

CEP III, controlled by The Carlyle Group, has divested 7.13 percent, or more than 17.8 million shares, in the luxury firm Moncler SpA, pulling out of the company.

The offering was carried out through an accelerated book building and priced at 12.04 euros, or $16.38 at current exchange, a share, to be settled on Wednesday for a gross total of 215 million euros, or $292.6 million.

Moncler chairman and chief executive officer Remo Ruffini said after the brand’s Gamme Bleu show on Sunday that Carlyle’s exit was “in line with the life of a fund. Carlyle has been part of Moncler since 2008, I knew it would leave at one point.” Asked whether Marco De Benedetti, head of Carlyle, was still a member of the Moncler board, he responded in the affirmative. “I hope he will stay on,” Ruffini added.

UBS Limited acted as sole book runner for the sale, while Rothschild acted as financial adviser to The Carlyle Group. Latham & Watkins acted as legal counsel.

ECIP M S.A., a vehicle controlled by Eurazeo SA, which controls a 23.3 percent of Moncler capital and is the second-largest shareholder after Ruffini Partecipazioni, has agreed to an additional lockup of 90 days. Ruffini noted that he did not know what Eurazeo’s intentions were. However, he added: “All funds have the same mentality.”

Ruffini sold a 48 percent stake in the company to The Carlyle Group in 2008. In June 2011, Carlyle and Ruffini sold 45 percent of the fashion house to Paris-based investment firm Eurazeo, pulling the plug on plans to list the brand on the Milan Stock Exchange that summer. Moncler was eventually publicly listed on the Milan Stock Exchange in December.

Ruffini was upbeat on Sunday, saying that “the bulk of sales starts now,” with the fall season. He said the Russian market is still small, as the company just opened its first store in the region in May, and that the firm has not seen an impact on its performance yet of the downturn in the economy there and the crisis over Ukraine, although he conceded there are “less Russians in Europe.”

Ruffini remarked that the U.S. market and Japan are faring “very well” and that Europe is holding up, adding that the second quarter is expected “to be in line with the group’s strategies and objectives.”