MILAN — Prada is about to get a new shareholder.

A well-placed source said that Banca Intesa, Prada’s lead banker, is about to buy a 5 percent stake in the fashion company in a development that would give Prada an enterprise value of 2.75 billion euros ($3.49 billion). A Prada spokesman declined to comment.

Under the terms of the agreement, Banca Intesa would provide 300 million euros ($381 million): 200 million euros ($254 million) that will be in the form of a loan to Prada Holding NV parent ITMD Investments, and 100 million euros ($127 million) that Intesa will invest via a capital increase.

Financial sources have said that Prada and its bankers are aiming to take the company public in a couple of years, finally executing Prada’s long-held and oft-postponed goal of listing on the stock market.

Prada may have another financial commitment coming up. Private fund Equinox, which bought 55 percent of shoemaker Church’s from Prada in 2003, has an option to sell control of the company back to Prada.

This story first appeared in the July 17, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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