MILAN — Valextra is the latest Italian company mulling an initial public offering.
Chairman and chief executive officer Emanuele Carminati Molina is discussing the future of the Italian accessories firm with a number of private equity funds, including London-based Neo Capital, to expand the niche brand and eventually go public.
“It’s a magic moment,” said Carminati Molina during a presentation of the brand’s luxury bags in Milan on Saturday.
“We are a small brand, but we have become a point of reference in luxury,” he said, admitting that a number of large groups such as PPR, Samsung and “the biggest Chinese fund” have been eyeing the Italian company, which last year had revenues of 13.5 million euros, or $17.3 million.
The label dates back to 1937, when Giovanni Fontana opened the first Valextra boutique in Milan’s Piazza San Babila. First Lady Michelle Obama and high-profile celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston, Katie Holmes and Victoria and David Beckham are among those seen carrying Valextra bags, known for their hand-crafted, Made in Italy designs, precious hides and unique details.
Carminati Molina said that at the end of 2011, when he “started to believe the company was healthy and sound,” he began to consider alternative ways to expand the firm he bought in 2000. The entrepreneur realized development plans needed to be supported by investments in order to expand globally and in more directions. “At first, I was more inclined toward a partner with know-how and experience in this sector, but then I realized that becoming part of a group, for example, I may not be privy to strategies and plans,” said the entrepreneur, who has three sons. “I want to create a future for them, I wouldn’t want to see all this vanish by becoming part of a multinational group that would swallow us up,” he explained.
While at first concerned that a financial partner would not help develop Valextra for the long-term, Carminati Molina changed his mind. “I now see they are often organized entities, with a motivated management, and we are accelerating our evaluations of possible funds,” he noted.
Conceding that Neo Capital has approached Valextra, Carminati Molina said no deal has been defined. The prerequisite is for the potential partner to be “respectful of the brand, which is inextricably linked to our philosophy and concept, and as long as it understands it should remain Italian and Milanese,” he explained.
Carminati Molina said he’s invested 40 million euros, or $52.9 million at current exchange, in Valextra so far. Through an injection of fresh cash, he hopes to further expand the company and publicly list it. “An IPO is the solution that we see more in line with our beliefs,” he remarked.
Valextra counts a flagship in Milan, six stores in Japan and five in Korea. The brand is exclusively distributed by Barneys New York in the U.S., Le Bon Marché in Paris and Selfridges in London, in addition to 11 other retailers in Europe.
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