MILAN — Design Holding closed 2021 on a high note, characterizing it as “a record year,” and on Thursday revealed it had signed an agreement to acquire the Danish group Designers Company, which includes brands such as Menu and By Lassen.
Founded in November 2018, Design Holding, with a presence in more than 90 countries, comprises design, furniture and lighting brands B&B Italia, Flos, Louis Poulsen, Arclines, Maxalto and Azucena.
Last year, Design Holding inked a joint venture with Fendi forming Fashion Furniture Design, or FF Design, to develop the Fendi Casa business. The line was previously produced and distributed by licensee Luxury Living, operating through Club House Italia. FF Design has been investing in the evolution and expansion of Fendi Casa, which this month opened its first flagship in Milan, as reported.
In June 2021, Design Holding, which is jointly controlled by Investindustrial and The Carlyle Group, acquired YDesign Group LLC, the U.S.-based leading online retailer of high-end, modern lighting and home furnishings.
In the 12 months ended Dec. 31, taking into account the YDesign acquisition, proforma revenues rose 21.1 percent to 700.3 million euros, compared with 2020.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 27.7 percent to 190.3 million euros, or 27.2 percent on revenues.
Operating profit increased 33 percent to 151.8 million euros, representing a 21.7 percent margin on revenues.
The group generated 142 million euros in cash.
Last year, it secured more than 100 million euros in high-end projects in hospitality, residential, corporate and retail, including with the Bulgari Hotel and the Bourse de Commerce in Paris.
“Design Holding’s performance in 2021 is a testament to the quality of our brands and the benefits of our portfolio approach,” said Daniel Lalonde, who was appointed chief executive officer of the group in October last year. “The acquisition of Designers Company, an icon of Nordic design, is also an exciting step in our growth and a perfect match for us. The company’s products are highly complementary to Design Holding’s existing portfolio, along with adding additional competencies including accessories.”
Lalonde previously spent 10 years at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton as president and CEO of LVMH Watches & Jewelry North America, Louis Vuitton in North America, and Moët & Chandon and Dom Pérignon globally. He also has held roles at Ralph Lauren and, prior to Design Holding, served as CEO of French fashion group SMCP, owner of Sandro and Maje.
The acquisition of Designers Company will allow Design Holding to strengthen its position in the Nordic design space, expand its product offer and reach out to a wider customer base that includes a younger generation.
Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Designers Company was formed through the acquisition of Menu, a Copenhagen-based company founded in 1978 and producing furniture, accessories and lighting products, before developing a heritage collection via the acquisition of design company By Lassen. In addition to these brands, the company holds all rights to a portfolio of products created by heritage designers such as Ib Kofod-Larsen, Arthur Umanoff, Mogens Lassen and Flemming Lassen, as well as Vilhem Lauritzen. Today, Designers Company has an archive of more than 2,000 heritage products and has a strong e-commerce presence.
Designers Company is led by CEO Danny Feltmann, who previously occupied senior leadership roles at Bang & Olufsen and H&M, and designer director Joachim Engell-Hansen.
“As we look to the future, our objective is clear — to be the global leader in high-end design, with an unparalleled portfolio of complementary brands, reaching design/architects and final consumers through a multichannel approach,” Lalonde said in a statement. To this end, the group’s four-part strategy includes “increasing brand desirability by making our brands more attractive, better known and sought after”; increasing its direct-to-consumer business; evolving the brands’ websites and store experience, while also “honing” its wholesale channel experience; expanding its international business with a focus on Greater China and North America, and further developing its high-end contract business, “to empower our brands to work together more often in hospitality, residential, corporate and retail settings.”
Last year, the group launched the Flos e-commerce sites in Europe, and boosted the B&B Italia brand’s profile on social media.
Design Holding has continued to prioritize ESG initiatives, achieving carbon neutrality for 2020 across Scope 1 and 2, and implementing circular economy principles across brands including B&B Italia, FLOS and Louis Poulsen. Lalonde said the group’s “ambitious program will be underpinned by sustainability and an ongoing investment in our people across the business. I am confident and excited about the opportunities for the business in the months and years ahead.”
Last year, Design Holding launched a series of new key products including the Oplight lamp by Jasper Morrison; the Allure O’ table and Flair O’ chair by Monica Armani; the Moonsetter lamp by Anne Boysen, and the Thea kitchen by Antonio Citterio.