Elisabetta Franchi RTW Fall 2019

MILAN Italian fashion brand Elisabetta Franchi is eyeing a public listing in the first quarter of 2020 on the AIM segment for small caps of the Italian Stock Exchange.

The decision follows an agreement between parent company Betty Blue SpA, owned by the designer Elisabetta Franchi, and Spactiv, listed on the AIM segment and promoted by Borletti Group and Milano Capital. Spactiv is a special purpose acquisition company backed by entrepreneur Maurizio Borletti; former Emanuel Ungaro chief executive officer Paolo De Spirt, and Gabriele Bavagnoli. The two companies will integrate to support the growth of the brand, which expects revenues of 123 million euros in 2019, up 6.4 percent compared with last year.

The transaction values Betty Blue at 195 million euros. Spactiv will buy shares for a maximum of 77.5 million euros.

“I have always tried to consistently pursue the values that I feel are part of my DNA: Italian creativity, my vision of femininity, artisanal heritage, an eco-friendly fashion; these are essential ingredients of my brand that have allowed Elisabetta Franchi to build a strong identity and find a unique positioning,” said the designer and founder of her namesake brand, adding that she was eyeing further international expansion. “Our business combination is like a perfect dress sewn on the body.”

“Launching our SPAC two years ago, we promised to target a company that would represent Italian excellence,” said Borletti, president of Spactiv. Betty Blue is the “ideal opportunity to present to our shareholders,” he continued. He defined the company as “greatly successful, marked by an important profitability and with a highly recognizable brand but also a Made in Italy production and important initiatives in the area of eco-sustainability.” Borletti also emphasized how the support and the resources of Spactiv will speed the brand’s development internationally.

Elisabetta Franchi was founded in 1998 and is based in Granarolo Emilia, a town outside Bologna. Net profits last year totaled 15 million euros, a 16.6 percent increase in the 2016-2018 period. There are 84 monobrand stores, of which eight are outlets, and the label is available in around 1,100 points of sale globally. The brand stages its seasonal shows in Milan.

In 2016, Borletti Group was part of a consortium that completed the acquisition of Grandi Stazioni Retail from Italian state railway company Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane and private investment vehicle Eurostazioni, providing exclusive rights to the commercial leasing and advertising spaces of some of the main railway stations in Italy.

Borletti Group was among the investors that acquired Italian department store chain La Rinascente in 2005 and French department store chain Printemps in 2006.

La Rinascente was sold to Thai group Central Retail Corporation in 2011, and Printemps in 2013 to Divine Investments SA, a Luxembourg-based investment fund backed by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the former emir of Qatar.


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