LONDON — Italian accessories brand Piquadro is in exclusive talks to buy the French accessories label Lancel from Compagnie Financière Richemont, parent of brands including Cartier, Dunhill and Van Cleef & Arpels.

Piquadro, a publicly quoted company, issued a statement to the Milan stock exchange confirming that talks have begun and that it has started due diligence on Lancel. It said a deal could be tied up by the middle of this year.

On Tuesday, a Richemont spokesperson confirmed that talks about the disposal of Lancel are underway.

The disposal of Lancel would follow Richemont’s sale of Shanghai Tang last year to an Italian investor, and is part of the luxury group’s efforts to clean house and focus on its biggest brands and businesses.

Richemont is currently planning to buy 100 percent of the shares in Yoox Net-a-porter Group in a deal that’s set to be completed later this year.

In an early morning report, Luca Solca of Exane BNP Paribas said selling Lancel would be a “small positive” for Richemont, as it demonstrates the luxury giant’s focus on the “rationalization and loss reduction in the soft luxury division.”

Solca pointed out that Richemont bought Lancel in 1997 for $360 million, but has struggled to grow it. Solca estimated that Lancel generates around 150 million euros in sales and loses at least 40 million euros per year.

Richemont includes Lancel in its “other” brands division, and does not break out sales or profit figures for the company.

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