MILAN — The sale of the Roberto Cavalli company is becoming “increasingly complicated,” according to a source, who believes Philipp Plein is no longer in the running to take control of the troubled brand. As reported, the German designer was said to be particularly keen on buying Cavalli, but sources say negotiations could have hit a snag over price and industrial strategies. To be sure, as reported, unions have voiced their concern about the future of the company’s workers and the production sites in Sesto Fiorentino, outside Florence, and Milan.
Reached on Friday, Mirko Zacchei, member of trade union CISL, said the unions have “requested an urgent meeting” with the Tuscan region’s crisis unit and principal members of the political world in the area to discuss the future of the employees of the Florence-based company and to shed some light on possible developments. The meeting is expected to be held next week.
Asked if strikes were being planned, Zacchei said they will take place “if the answers we will receive were to be partial or insufficient. No strike has taken place yet to avoid distracting and ruffling the negotiations.” Zacchei did not have additional details about the sale and the interested parties.
These latest developments follow rumors first reported by WWD on Thursday that creative director Paul Surridge was said to be exiting the Roberto Cavalli group. This was not confirmed as of Friday, but the designer no longer listed his role as creative director of the brand on his Instagram account.
Plein distancing himself from the table would leave the American fund Bluestar Alliance, which has investments in Tahari, Bebe and Catherine Malandrino, as the only buyer, according to sources. However, if negotiations fail, the scenario could change, eventually making way to a composition with creditors. In that case, Plein could still come forward to secure the brand, said a source, although, ultimately, an administrator or a judge would have the last word.
One source underscored the current “financial tension” at Cavalli due to a lack of funds and said Bluestar Alliance, on the other hand, appears to be willing to channel investments in the company and support local production. One source estimated Clessidra has since invested between 300 and 350 million euros in Cavalli.
Clessidra took control of Cavalli in 2015, but has been looking to exit the fashion business, according to sources. In May 2016, Italmobiliare SpA, the publicly listed investment group owned by the Pesenti family, took control of Clessidra for roughly 20 million euros. Italmobiliare holds and manages a diversified portfolio of investments and equity interests worth more than 2 billion euros.