By  on July 14, 2011

MILAN — The sale of accessories brands Mandarina Duck, Braccialini and Francesco Biasia continues to fuel M&A fever here, following the Zeis Excelsi’s acquisition of Dirk Bikkembergs reported earlier this week.

Korean fund E-Land has taken control of Cadriano, Italy-based Mandarina Duck for about 25 million euros, or $35 million at current exchange, and the closing is expected within the end of the month. In 2008, Mandarina Duck was incorporated under the Antichi Pellettieri umbrella, the leather goods unit that belonged to the now bankrupt Mariella Burani Fashion Group. On Friday, Antichi Pellettieri took full control of Mosaicon, which owned the Braccialini and Biasia businesses, from private equity fund 3i SGR for 7.5 million euros, or $10.5 million. This agreement, said an industry source, allows the state-appointed administrators of the Burani group to move forward with the sale of the two accessories brands to a pool of investors formed by the Braccialini family and the Sici private equity fund. This is being finalized for a total amount of 20 million euros, or $28 million. Handbags firm Coccinelle remains part of Mosaicon.

E-Land, which formed a joint venture with Kate Spade in Mainland China and has more than 40 retail nameplates, is gradually forming a fashion conglomerate, as it has over the past year bought Italy’s sportswear brand Belfe and footwear group Sutorio-Lario, which includes the Lorenzo Banfi label.

In addition to its own namesake brand, Braccialini produces handbags under license for Vivienne Westwood, Amazon Life and Looney Tunes, and controls the historical Gherardini label. Earlier this summer, Gherardini recruited designer Damiano Biella, previously Escada’s creative director, who also worked at Valentino and Carolina Herrera before that.

Marking a progressive restructuring under the administration of three state-appointed commissioners, a new Mariella Burani boutique opened in Rome in March, located on the prestigious Via Borgognona, on the corner of the city’s iconic Spanish Steps.

This new retail footprint followed the unveiling in February of a new 2,160-square-foot showroom in a stately Milan palazzo near the city’s golden shopping triangle.

In March 2010, Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development granted bankruptcy protection to parent company Mariella Burani Fashion Group and appointed Giampiero Martini, Rossella Strippoli and Francesco Ruscigno to manage the group, which was weighed down by debts of more than $600 million. In July of last year, Walter Burani and his son Giovanni were placed under arrest as part of a wider ongoing investigation into fraudulent bankruptcy.

At a hearing earlier this year, 141 shareholders requested to bring a civil action in the proceedings and have asked for the confiscation of the Buranis’ properties. The arrests were requested by Milan prosecutors Luigi Orsi and Mauro Clerici, who have been investigating parent company Burani Designer Holding for fraudulent bankruptcy.

The administrators have been cleaning up the business, inking licenses to produce the MV Matthew Williamson and Ungaro Fuchsia diffusion lines unveiled earlier this year. MBFG also signed a license to manufacture and distribute the Alessandro Dell’Acqua line, which is no longer owned by the namesake designer.

MBFG has over the years held licensing agreements with firms such as Valentino, Calvin Klein, La Perla and Vivienne Westwood. MBFG was listed on the Milan Stock Exchange.

The task is for the administrators to sell the Mariella Burani brand and factory by January 2012, in addition to Antichi Pellettieri.

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