MILAN — Italian fashion group Aeffe SpA last week denied it was looking to off-load its shoe and leather accessories brand Pollini, despite rumors of private equity interest.
"It's a total lie," Aeffe general manager and chief financial officer Marcello Tassinari told WWD. "We have no intention of selling Pollini."
According to industry sources, two private equity firms are circling Pollini and an approach could come in May. They say Aeffe's slumping share price and infighting at Pollini prompted the interest, and estimate the brand's value at around 50 million euros, or $80 million at current exchange.
Tassinari dismissed the speculation, saying, "Private equity funds look at everything."
The claims come two months after Aeffe said it was interested in acquiring a majority stake in a luxury men's wear label in a bid to drive growth, particularly in emerging markets. Aeffe also operates the Alberta Ferretti and Moschino brands and produces collections for Jean Paul Gaultier.
The company's ability to weather the slowdown in consumer spending has put its stock under pressure since listing on Milan's STAR segment for small firms in July. Last month, Aeffe shareholders approved a buyback of as much as 10 percent of the group's capital in a bid to stabilize the stock price, which is just shy of an all-time low, after fourth-quarter earnings fell 17.3 percent.
On Thursday, Aeffe's shares closed at 1.70 euros, or $2.71 at current exchange, or about two-fifths of their launch price. The Milan Bourse was closed Friday for a national holiday.
Aeffe acquired a controlling stake in Pollini in 2001 for an undisclosed fee; since then the brand has expanded geographically and beyond shoes and accessories.
In 2004, Pollini tapped Turkish designer Rifat Ozbek to produce its first ready-to-wear collection and earlier this year, the company branched out into umbrellas and neckwear via five-year licensing deals.
However, according to sources, Aeffe's strategy for Pollini has met some resistance internally. Ozbek is also believed to be on his way out, with Aeffe interviewing for possible replacements.
In 2007, Aeffe registered earnings of 15.3 million euros, or $21 million at average exchange, on sales of 293.2 million euros, or $401.9 million. Pollini contributed 18 percent of revenues — 52.3 million euros, or $71.7 million.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty