PARIS — LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is sailing into new luxury waters and buying a famous Dutch maker of custom megayachts priced at $30 million and up.
The French luxury giant said late Monday it signed an exclusive agreement to acquire Royal van Lent from Egeria, an investment firm based in the Netherlands.
A designer and builder of yachts more than 160 feet in length and sold under the Feadship brand, Royal van Lent has seen worldwide orders for the category grow more than 20 percent annually since 2000, according to LVMH.
Market sources estimate Royal generates annual revenues at north of 100 million euros, or $146 million at current exchange rates, and its production output at about five ships per year.
Financial terms were not disclosed, however an LVMH spokesman pegged the purchase price at 11 times net results — a reasonable multiple for the luxury sector.
In a statement, LVMH touted an “outstanding growth opportunity that is resistant to economic cycles” and a chance for the group to expand its reach beyond its core business groups: fashion and leather goods; perfumes and cosmetics; watches and jewelry; wines and spirits, and specialty retail.
LVMH said it would leverage its high-end client network and global reach to accelerate the growth of Royal van Lent “while maintaining its unique heritage, exclusive positioning and exceptional craftsmanship.”
Dick van Lent, chief executive officer of Royal van Lent, is to remain at the 160-year-old company. Feadship can boast that 40 percent of its clients are return customers as a game of one-upmanship plays out in the world’s most glamorous ports of call.
Monday’s news suggests LVMH kingpin Bernard Arnault, himself the owner of a monster yacht, is once again in a mood to spend — although still not for fashion.
Last April, LVMH acquired 100 percent of fast-growing Swiss watchmaker Hublot.
France’s second richest man has also been active on various business fronts through separate investment vehicles.
Last June, L Capital 2 FCPR, an investment group sponsored by LVMH and Groupe Arnault, said it acquired more than 70 percent of Princess Yachts International plc from South African entrepreneur Graham Beck.
The same month, Financière Agache Private Equity, part of Groupe Arnault, took a 37 percent stake in Groupe Paprec, France’s leading recycler of plastics and office paper.
“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