By  on May 16, 2008

Milan – Private equity firms see a bright future for luxury Italian sportswear brands.

Stirling Square Capital Partners (or SSCP) and Sirius Equity on Friday announced the acquisition of Jeckerson, a luxury Italian sportswear label from Blue Fashion Group for 140 million euros, or $216.7 million at current exchange. The brand’s equity is valued at 125 million euros, or $193.5 million.

A subsidiary of Goldman Sachs International also invested in the transaction and Massimo Piombini, vice-president global sales of the Bally Group, will join the board of directors of Jeckerson.

Established in 1995, the Prunaro di Budrio, Bologna-based brand for men and women is sold in 600 independent multi-brand shops throughout Italy, is gearing up for international expansion while continuing to grow its label at home.

While the company is under known on the international scale its new parents certainly have experience when it come to giving labels a luxury makeover.

Founded by Jim Sharp and Robert Bensoussan, Sirius Equity is known for turning around Jimmy Choo from small iconic shoe brand into an international luxury brand increasing its value almost tenfold. Bensoussan, previously CEO of Christian Lacroix, and Gianfranco Ferrè also helped restructure Burberry and organized the Joseph and Ferrè LBO transaction.

Last October, Bensoussan took a stake in English watch company Bremont, which specializes in large, aviator-style watches.

“We have been impressed by the performance of Jeckerson and believe it has a strong base to build further market, channel and category expansion,” said Robert Bensoussan, who is also CEO of Jimmy Choo. Bensoussan will act as non-executive chairman of Jeckerson.

“We look forward working with Jeckerson’s entrepreneurial management on the transformation of this business from Italian champion to international leader,” said Gregorio Napoleone, who led the transaction for SSCP.

SSCP and Sirius are backing the existing management team headed by Gianni Cantarelli.

“With the active support of our new shareholders and directors, we expect Jeckerson to quickly mature into a more established international player while continuing to outperform its reference markets,” said Cantarelli.

In addition to its fashion line, Jeckerson premium sportswear sponsors show jumping athlete, Emilio Bicocchi, Italian golf teams as well as its own golf tournament, the Jeckerson Cup and premium motorcycle racers for the Ducati Corse.

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