By  on August 6, 2008

MILAN — Who said private equity deals are dead?The Carlyle Group said Wednesday it had agreed to acquire a 48 percent stake in Moncler SpA, the holding entity of the Moncler Group, which manufactures high-end sportswear under the Moncler, Henry Cotton’s, Marina Yachting and Coast, Weber & Ahaus brands and holds the license for Cerruti.Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, although a spokesman for Carlyle said Moncler’s total enterprise value stood at 460 million euros, or $713.7 million at current exchange.Moncler chairman Remo Ruffini will continue to lead the company and maintain his 38 percent holding, while shareholders Mittel Private Equity, Progressio Sgr and ISA SpA will reduce their combined 61 percent stake to 13.5 percent and Moncler management will halve theirs to 0.5 percent. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year, subject to regulatory approval.“Moncler is a historic sport luxury garment brand that has returned to play a relevant and prestigious role in the market,” Carlyle managing director Marco De Benedetti said. “Moncler succeeded in its development thanks to the unique talent and extraordinary job of Remo Ruffini, of all the management team and to Mittel’s support in the last years. Starting from today, as shareholders of the company, we will support Moncler with strategic vision and the means necessary to maximize the important global development opportunities for Moncler and the other brands of the group.”Ruffini took a majority holding in Moncler in 2003, while Mittel, Progressio and ISA invested in the company two years later. Together, they increased Moncler’s turnover by 17 percent annually, last year generating net profits of 18 million euros, or $24.7 million at average exchange, on revenues of 253.7 million euros, or $347.8 million — 40 percent of which came from outside Italy. For the current year, consolidated sales are projected to hit 290 million euros, or $450 million at current exchange, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization are set to exceed 50 million euros, or $77.6 million.“I am grateful to my shareholders for their support received through these years of hard work in relaunching Moncler,” Ruffini said. “I am now very enthusiastic to have Carlyle as a shareholder to face the new challenges of growth together.”Carlyle, which lost out to Permira for Valentino Fashion Group SpA last year and which is believed to have tabled an unsuccessful bid for Roberto Cavalli SpA in July, made the investment in Moncler via its third pan-European buyout fund, the 5.35 billion euro ($8.3 billion) Carlyle Europe Partners III, which closed in 2007.Moncler distributes its products in high-end shops and department stores in Italy and globally, and through six own-brand boutiques in Crans sur Sierre and St. Moritz in Switzerland, Paris and Megeve in France, and Courmayeur and Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy. Further Moncler-branded boutiques are slated to open in the next 12 months in Milan; Gstaad, Switzerland, and Aspen, Colo.�

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