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IN BRIEF

FACCHINI'S BACK?: Could Gianluigi Facchini be preparing to buy back Fin.part on the cheap? Although a Fin.part spokesman denied speculation that the chairman was readying a leveraged buyout, shares catapulted 8.5 percent Thursday to 53 cents, or...

FACCHINI’S BACK?: Could Gianluigi Facchini be preparing to buy back Fin.part on the cheap? Although a Fin.part spokesman denied speculation that the chairman was readying a leveraged buyout, shares catapulted 8.5 percent Thursday to 53 cents, or 0.561 euro, in Milan. That pulled it back from its 52-week low of 49 cents, hit on Wednesday. Its 52-week high is $1.09, reached on Jan. 18. Dollar figures have been converted from the euro at current exchange. One stock trader said it could make sense for Facchini to take advantage of a low stock price to buy back the company cheaply and split it up. Fin.part’s focus is already changing. As reported, it is looking to sell off its real estate and sportswear assets to concentrate on its Cerruti brand, which was acquired last year. “We are a bit penalized by price,” said one spokesman. “Selling it all now would mean doing it at a lower price.” Among its other brands, Fin.part makes Marina Yachting, Henry Cottons and Moncler.

CLAIBORNE TO BUY MEXX CANADA: Following Liz Claiborne Inc.’s acquisition of Netherlands-based Mexx Group BV in May 2001, the company said Thursday that it plans to purchase 100 percent of the stock of Mexx Canada Inc., a privately held company based in Montreal. Mexx Canada, which had sales of $54.2 million, based on the current exchange rate with the Canadian dollar, distributes its Mexx brand in all Canadian provinces, generating about 70 percent of its sales through retail business and the remaining 30 percent through wholesale. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

BIGGER RICHARDS WOMEN: It’s not even two years old, but already the new Richards, at 359 Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich, Conn., is expanding its women’s business by putting up in-store shops for Giorgio Armani Black Label and Yves Saint Laurent. Construction on the shops has begun and should be complete by Aug. 1, said chief executive Jack Mitchell.

BARNEYS GRABS MALO: Malo, the 30-year-old Italian luxury cashmere house, is raising its profile and distribution and has begun with an exclusive at Barneys New York. Barneys’ Madison Avenue flagship will open a Malo men’s shop on July 1, and aside from the Malo stores on Madison and in SoHo, becomes the sole distributor of the brand in New York. Barneys in Beverly Hills and Chicago will also open Malo men’s shops on July 1. On July 18, Barneys in Beverly Hills and Malo will host a cocktail party to celebrate Robert Evans and his new movie, “The Kid Stays in the Picture.” In the U.S. outside the Big Apple, Malo sells its men’s and women’s collections in such stores as Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Louis, Boston and through its six freestanding shops.