Clessidra Sgr SpA has a new owner and the future of its luxury and fashion portfolio is sparking speculation. Italmobiliare SpA has secured the Italian private equity fund for roughly 20 million euros, or $22.7 million, at current exchange.
Last month, as reported, Clessidra initiated exclusive and binding negotiations with Italmobiliare, an investment group owned by the Pesenti family. The completion of the transaction is subject to the approval of the relevant authorities and the subscribers of the Clessidra Capital Partners III Fund.
A market source said “the deal is expected to be closed by the end of July,” and that discussions with the existing management will follow. The source said there will be “no overlapping of the companies,” and that Italmobiliare “plans to invest in the Made in Italy label and reinforce” the firms’ business.
Clessidra controls the Buccellati brand, and, as reported, it is in talks with potential investors, including Compagnie Financière Richemont SA, to sell the label. The source said that Italmobiliare will not stop Clessidra’s “works in progress,” adding that there is “nothing immediate on the table. There are no new extraordinary operations and the activities may slow down a bit, but nothing is coming to a stop either.”
Market sources wonder whether chairman Francesco Trapani, who was rumored to have made an offer to buy Clessidra, will stay on. A former Bulgari ceo, before joining Clessidra in 2014, Trapani was chairman of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s watches and jewelry division. He spearheaded the acquisition of the Roberto Cavalli group last year and rumors about the future of the brand are beginning to simmer. The company is in a moment of transition, expecting a more progressive growth in 2017. Last year, revenues were down 14.2 percent to 179.7 million euros, or $199.4 million, compared with 2014. Challenges in luxury markets, especially Russia, and a contraction in sales derived from licenses, dented the performance.
Peter Dundas was appointed creative director of the brand last year, succeeding the namesake founder of the firm. Chief executive officer Renato Semerari has been creating a management structure and further developing its wholesale channel, in particular in the U.S. He has also been working on the revamp of its network of stores, which last year totaled 182.
Clessidra also has a 35 percent stake in Harmont & Blaine SpA.
Italmobiliare, which is publicly listed on the Italian Stock Exchange, holds and manages a diversified portfolio of investments and equity interests worth more than 2 billion euros, or $2.27 billion. “The acquisition of Clessidra is part of its portfolio diversification strategy and represents a unique opportunity for the development of the private equity business by acquiring the leading Italian player,” said the company.
Claudio Sposito, chairman and chief executive officer of the Milan-based private equity firm who died in January, founded Clessidra in 2003, building it into one of the most active firms in Italy’s luxury and fashion sector.
Carlo Pesenti is ceo of Italmobiliare. The powerful Pesenti family founded one the largest cement producers in the world, Italcementi, in Bergamo, Italy, in 1864. The Pesentis, who over the years also controlled banks, insurance companies and automaker Lancia, among other investments, are flush with cash after the recent sale of stakes in Italcementi to Heidelbergcement.
Last month, revealing the negotiations between Italmobiliare and Clessidra, Carlo Pesenti said that “In pursuing this new initiative, Italmobiliare will boost Clessidra’s ability to create value by contributing its own industrial management vision and its ability to attract resources to develop the “made in Italy” on a global scale.”
Italmobiliare underlined it “intends to support and grow Clessidra’s activities, ensuring autonomy and independence and strengthen its management structure.”
Sources say Mittel, a former Moncler shareholder, and Neuberger Berman were also eyeing Clessidra.