PARIS — Qatar is on the verge of gaining another prestigious fashion foothold in Europe.
Having already snapped up London department store Harrods in 2010, the cash-rich Gulf state could soon boast French department store chain Printemps in its portfolio.
Deutsche Bank’s real estate asset management division, RREEF, and Borletti Group —the joint owners of Printemps — said Wednesday that RREEF has entered into exclusive negotiations with Borletti Group and unidentified Qatari investors to sell its stake.
Speculation is likely to focus on the Qatar Investment Authority and its Qatar Holding LLC arm, which have invested in a slew of luxury and retail stocks in the past few years.
The Arab state has a 1.03 percent stake in LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and an 8.7 percent share in Tiffany & Co. It has also bought real estate including a historic building on Place Vendôme, a flagship retail complex on the Champs-Elysées and hotels including the Martinez in Cannes, France.
Meanwhile, Qatar Luxury Group has signed a lease on a boutique on Avenue Montaigne for the upcoming launch of Qela, its first homegrown luxury brand. And Mayhoola for Investments, an investment vehicle backed by a private group from the Middle Eastern monarchy, has snapped up Italy’s Valentino Fashion Group SpA.
Speculation around a change in ownership of Printemps has been building in the last few months, with RREEF said to be looking for a buyer for its 70 percent stake, but Borletti Group — run by former La Rinascente chairman Maurizio Borletti — is keen on holding on to its 30 percent participation.
The duo bought the Printemps chain for $1.33 billion from French conglomerate PPR in 2006 and has since invested millions in shifting the store upmarket.
Under the terms of the purchase deal, RREEF had planned to sell its stake by 2014 at the latest, with Borletti Group having a priority claim to the stake, according to sources familiar with the transaction.
Any sale will be subject to approval by the works council of Printemps and competition authorities.
Potential buyers for RREEF’s stake were said to include rival department store chain Galeries Lafayette, whose Paris flagship is a stone’s throw away on Boulevard Haussmann, making the area a top draw for tourists visiting the French capital.
French business magazine Challenges reported in December that Galeries Lafayette was ready to pay 1.6 billion euros, or $2.14 billion at current exchange, to acquire the retailer. Officials at the family-owned company had no comment on the rumors.
Printemps has 15 stores in France in addition to its Paris flagship and employs around 4,000 people. It plans to open three new stores by 2015, marking the first additions to its retail network in more than 30 years.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)