MILAN — Change Capital Partners has taken a majority stake in Italian upscale linen, home furnishings and loungewear firm Frette Srl.
While not disclosing financial details of the transaction, the private equity fund said it plans a “significant investment” in Frette to support its full growth potential. Previous owner JH Partners will continue to remain a minority shareholder. The San Francisco-based JH Partners, a private equity group specializing in brand development and marketing and a former owner of luxury innerwear brand La Perla, bought its stake in Frette in 2006.
Frette “has genuine heritage, deep expertise and the specific advantage of spanning both consumer and hospitality sectors,” according to Steve Petrow, partner at Change Capital Partners. “With our strong track record of investing and growing landmark consumer and luxury businesses we are excited by the prospect of taking Frette to the next level.”
Change Capital Partners is a former owner of the Jil Sander brand, which it had acquired from the Prada Group and then sold to Onward Holdings. It is also an investor in Paris-based luxury brand Paule Ka.
Founded in 1860 and headquartered in Monza, about a half-hour drive from Milan, Frette also supplies linens to prestigious hotels and restaurants globally, and accounts span from the Vatican to the Orient Express.
The company counts 15 boutiques in cities ranging from Paris and Milan to Rome, New York and Beverly Hills, and the brand is available at select specialty stores around the world.
Sales in 2013 totaled 90 million euros, or $118.8 million at average exchange, said Change Capital Partners.
Andrew Warden, chief executive officer of Frette, said that, “as the market continues to evolve, there are exciting opportunities ahead for Frette. With the experience, strategic direction and active support of Change Capital Partners, we look forward to entering a new phase of growth.”
Change Capital Partners estimates the global luxury bed-linen market is worth more than 1.2 billion euros, or $1.6 billion at current exchange, and “expects it to benefit from the continued growth in customer demand from emerging markets.”
Steve Baus, partner at JH Partners, said Change Capital Partners will “be fundamental to providing the company with the necessary support and resources to build on its success to date. We are [pleased] to remain involved in Frette, which we believe has an exciting future ahead of it.”