PARIS — It’s a changing of the guard at Lacoste SA.
Late on Friday, Swiss retail group Maus Frères SA seized majority control of the maker of crocodile-logo polo shirts, having signed an agreement to acquire an additional 30.3 percent of the firm’s capital.
Maus said the deal values the sportswear maker at between 1 billion and 1.25 billion euros, or $1.3 billion to $1.62 billion at current exchange.
The Swiss retail firm already controlled 35 percent of Lacoste via its Devanlay subsidiary, Lacoste’s apparel licensee.
Maus said it acquired the additional tranche of shares from members of the founding family, including former president Michel Lacoste, who recently resigned from the board amid a family tussle. Maus noted it has offered to buy the shares of remaining shareholders at the same price.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
“This transaction is the best guarantee for the Lacoste brand’s long-term future and the best way to fully capitalize on its assets,” the company said. RELATED STORY: Lacoste Spring 2013 >>
Lacoste Dournel’s election made headlines in France due to a conflict between some 20 members of the Lacoste family from three generations that make up the advisory board, and had owned 65 percent of Lacoste SA.
The 36-year-old Lacoste Dournel has been on the company’s board since 2005, is part of the second generation of the family shareholder structure and is a granddaughter of founder René Lacoste, a French tennis hero and businessman who created the Lacoste tennis shirt in 1929.
In a recent interview, Lacoste Dournel said it’s business as usual at the firm and her principal focus going forward would be to grow the brand’s women’s business and improve synergies between Lacoste’s manufacturing partners, she said.
Maus Frères, controlled by the Maus and Nordmann families, has been in business since 1902 and controls the Gant, Aigle and Parashop brands. Its retail banners include Manor department stores, hardware and DIY chain Jumbo and sports retailer Athleticum.
The group posted 2011 sales of 5.3 billion Swiss francs, or $6 billion at average exchange, and employs some 22,000 people.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast