MILAN — Sources here say Prada Group has sold its 55 percent stake in Church’s to private equity fund Equinox Investment, which already owned 45 percent of the English footwear firm.
Equinox Investment has no relationship to the privately held Equinox Luxury Holdings Ltd., which owns footwear firm Jimmy Choo. Equinox Investment is an independent firm based in Lugano, Switzerland, and is headed by Salvatore Mancuso.
A Prada spokesman did not confirm the sale, and said, “We are currently exploring this possibility, but nothing has been finalized yet.”
Founded early last year, Equinox Investment has capital of $265.2 million, converted from 225 million euros at current exchange. Gruppo Pirelli, Banca Intesa, Milan’s Bocconi University, Tod’s Diego Della Valle and Luxottica’s Leonardo Del Vecchio are among some of the investors. Last year, Equinox Investment acquired 15 percent of Moby Invest SpA, the shipbuilding holding company headed by Vincenzo Onorato. During the last Louis Vuitton Cup, Onorato’s sailing boat Mascalzone Latino raced against Prada’s Luna Rossa.
The transaction would be in line with Prada’s efforts to reduce its debt before attempting a public offering, which the company has said might take place in the second half of next year at the earliest.
Over the past two years, Prada has sold its stake in Fendi, the Byblos business and part of its real estate assets. As reported, debt net of credits stood at $907.8 million, or 770 million euros, at the end of 2002, and Prada expects the figure to be at $353.7 million, or 300 million euros, by the end of 2004. Prada now owns Jil Sander, Helmut Lang, Genny, Azzedine Alaïa and Car Shoe.
Four years ago, lured by Church’s tradition of quality — the company dates back to 1873 — Prada chief Patrizio Bertelli paid 26.5 times the company’s annual net earnings, shelling out $175.5 million. Over the past four years, Prada restructured Church’s by streamlining its distribution and refocusing the product. In an interview this year, Prada chief financial officer Riccardo Stilli said that, through the partnership with Equinox Investment, Prada aimed to boost sales of Church’s to $106.1 million (90 million euros) in two years and to more than $117.9 million (100 million euros) in 2006.Today, there are 45 Church’s stores in the world. Last year, the firm registered revenues of $70.7 million, or 60 million euros.
Stilli said Prada was focused on continuity at Church’s, a continuity maintained through three members of the founding family: Sir John Church, the company’s former chief executive, now honorary president; his son William, in charge of production, and his nephew Jonathan, financial director of Church’s in England.
Stilli declined to disclose the financial terms of the agreement, but firmly denied press speculation here that Prada sold 45 percent of Church’s to Equinox Investment in April for about $37.7 million (32 million euros).
Besides Church’s, the company puts out a younger, less expensive brand called Cheaney.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)