MILAN — Fendi has acquired a majority stake in knitwear specialist Maglificio Matisse. This is the first M&A deal for the Rome-based luxury company and yet another sign of the changes taking place throughout the manufacturing landscape in Italy, where established brands are increasingly investing in supporting small and medium-sized companies to protect their craftsmanship and know-how — and often providing a future for the second- or third-generation owners and for their own pipeline.
Maglificio Matisse has a strong industrial footprint, integrating traditional handmade knitwear with innovative technology and has been working with Fendi for more than 15 years as a key supplier in the knitwear category, as well as for other top luxury brands.
“Together with the openings of our Fendi factory in Tuscany for leather goods and in Marche for shoes, this acquisition marks another step of our maison toward its commitment to support Made-in-Italy and its supply chain,” said Fendi chairman and chief executive officer Serge Brunschwig. Next week, Fendi will officially inaugurate its new leather goods factory in Bagno a Ripoli, outside Florence, which will also serve as a training center.
Maglificio Matisse is located in Sant’Egidio alla Vibrata in the province of Teramo, in the central Abruzzo region, not far from Fendi’s new footwear plant in Fermo.
The Scarpantonii family of Maglificio Matisse will continue to run and operate the business after Fendi’s acquisition to guarantee consistency of expertise.
“We are thankful to Luigino Scarpantonii for having successfully led the Maglificio Matisse alongside his children and look forward to writing a next chapter together with them,” said Brunschwig.
The company is completely vertical, covering all production phases and its capacity will be strengthened thanks to investments that are already planned for the coming years, said Fendi, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
“I am enthusiastic for the opportunity to be able to continue and further reinforce the strong collaboration built with Fendi through more than a decade now, and I can’t wait to start this new path with my children by my side,” said Scarpantonii, chairman of Maglificio Matisse.
The acquisition is the latest in brisk M&A activity in Italy’s supply chain, further triggered by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and much of it meant to reinforce the country’s fashion pipeline.
In March, as reported, Brunello Cucinelli revealed that his namesake company was buying a 43 percent stake of Cariaggi Lanificio SpA, its longtime cashmere supplier. Last year the Prada and Ermenegildo Zegna groups joined forces to acquire a majority stake in Filati Biagioli Modesto SpA, which specializes in the production of cashmere and other precious yarns, sharing the goal to ensure continuity in the excellence of the company and to develop their own Made in Italy production chain. The acquisition came a few weeks after Zegna bulked up its textile division with the takeover of Tessitura Ubertino.
It is similar to the rationale behind Gruppo Florence, the luxury production pole established in 2020 by industry veteran Francesco Trapani through private equity fund VAM Investments together with Fondo Italiano d’Investimento and Italmobiliare. The goal is to supply high-quality Made in Italy products to major luxury fashion brands by acquiring family-owned Italian SMEs.
Trapani has said he expected the pole to quickly become the primary point of reference for Made in Italy production, building a rich portfolio including, for example, knitwear manufacturer Metaphor; jersey specialist Manifatture Cesari and Ciemmeci, a company that specializes in the production of leather and fur pieces, among others. After acquiring hat maker Facopel in June, the group said last month it had entered the footwear segment, investing in Lorenza Calzaturificio and Novarese, two shoe specialists.