Forte_Forte spring 2017 collection

Italian private equity firm Style Capital acquired on Thursday a 51 percent majority stake in Italian high contemporary women’s wear label Forte_Forte.

The value of the operation, which was closed between the investment fund and siblings Paolo and Giada Forte, was not disclosed.

“We will do a significant capital increase to kick off the retail development of the brand,” said Roberta Benaglia, chief executive officer of Style Capital Sgr, the company that controls the Milan-based fund. “The goal is to open between five and six stores within the next three or four years.” The brand’s first boutique will be inaugurated in Paris by the end of this year.

Founded in 2001, Forte_Forte, which is known for its romantic yet modern look, closed 2016 with revenues of 15 million euros, or $16.5 million at average exchange. The brand is available in about 500 multibrand stores. While Italy accounts for 30 percent of total business, Forte_Forte is particularly strong in the United States, where it is distributed by CD Network with the name Giada_Forte. France and Japan are also key markets for the label.

Giada Forte

Giada Forte  Courtesy Photo

In order to support the retail expansion of the brand, Giada Forte, cofounder and creative director, said a line of accessories, including bags, shoes and custom jewelry, will be introduced next year.

“Along with a retail development, we will also work to implement the wholesale distribution through strategic partnerships, especially in the Far East,” Benaglia said, revealing that the company’s goal is to increase Forte_Forte’s revenues to 50 million euros, or $55 million, in the next five years.

Benaglia also said Forte_Forte will soon announce the appointment of a general director. The brand’s cofounder Paolo Forte will continue to be part of the management team.

This is the first closing for Style Capital, which manages an investment portfolio valued at 100 million euros, or $108.7 million.

Style Capital Sgr also controls the DGPA Capital private-equity fund, which includes investments in beachwear brand Sundek, as well as in jewelry label Damiani. DGPA sold its participation in Golden Goose Deluxe Brand to investment fund Ergon Capital Partners III in May 2015. Golden Goose Deluxe Brand was acquired by Carlyle Europe Partners IV in February. Benaglia left her role as ceo of Golden Goose Deluxe Brand in March.

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