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MILAN — Qatari investors continue to actively build their fashion, retail and real estate portfolios in Europe and they have zoomed in on their first men’s wear-only Italian luxury brand.
This story first appeared in the February 11, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Mayhoola for Investments, an investment vehicle backed by a private investor group from Qatar, has acquired a majority stake in Forall Confezioni SpA, which produces Pal Zileri and also holds licenses for Moschino and Cerruti 1881.
Founded in 1970, the Quinto Vicentino-based Pal Zileri was previously owned by a group of Italian entrepreneurs, including the Barizza, Bellet, Miola and Ghiringhelli families, along with the Egyptian Arafa Holding. Mayhoola took control of 65 percent of the company from the Italian investors. Arafa Holding will continue to hold 35 percent of the firm. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
Speculation about a potential deal emerged in November. A market source said the deep-pocketed Qatari investors, who are said to have a long-term and ambitious vision for the brand, will help “further push the development of Pal Zileri globally.”
In the Eighties, Forall collaborated with Luciano Soprani, Verri, Antonio Fusco, Krizia, Trussardi and Moschino to produce and distribute their men’s lines. The company went on to expand in the Nineties and developed Pal Zileri into a classic, highly crafted brand that employs top fabrics ranging from cashmere and guanaco to vicuna and is available in more than 70 countries. The brand has evolved to include a bespoke collection, a younger Lab line, a more informal line called Concept and accessories and fragrances.
Forall closed 2013 with sales of 140 million euros, or $184.8 million at current exchange. Italy accounted for about 25 percent of total revenues.
There are two production units, in Quinto Vicentino and Sarcedo a Vicenza, and the company has more than 850 employees.
It is understood Mayhoola is controlled by Qatar’s royal family. The fund bought the Valentino fashion house in July 2012 and is a minority shareholder in the Anya Hindmarch accessories brand.
In the summer, Qatari investors via Luxembourg-based investment fund Divine Investments SA, or Disa, acquired French department store chain Printemps.
The Qatar Investment Authority has stakes in LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co., and bought real estate in Paris, including an historic building on the Place Vendôme. Qatar Holding LLC owns Harrods in London as well as a stake in British food retailer J. Sainsbury plc.
In April, Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani bought the Four Seasons hotel in Florence from brothers Marcello and Corrado Fratini. Qatar also owns four luxury hotels in Sardinia’s luxury Costa Smeralda beach resort area.
In November 2012, Qatar Holding LLC, a global investment firm founded by the Qatar Investment Authority in 2006, signed an agreement with Italy’s Fondo Strategico Italiano, the holding controlled by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, or CDP, a joint-stock company under public control, to create a venture, IQ Made in Italy, with the goal to invest in Italian brands. The fund leverages total capital of 2 billion euros, or $2.72 billion at current exchange rates.