MILAN — After several months of guessing, five offers are in.
Without disclosing the names of the bidders, Roberto Cavalli SpA said Friday that three offers were binding for 100 percent of the company. Another binding offer was made to purchase unspecified company assets, while a fifth party submitted a nonbinding expression of interest.
Owner Clessidra Sgr is expected to hold a board meeting over the next few days to evaluate the offers. If one is accepted, the bidder will reportedly need to present its industrial plan by Aug. 3 and a judge or administrator will have the last word on the transaction.
According to sources, investors who are looking at the financially troubled brand include the Dubai-based property developer Damac, which partnered with Cavalli on a hotel project in October, and the American fund Infinity Group, which has experience in consumer goods.
As reported, at the end of March, the Roberto Cavalli SpA board revealed that it had decided to file a restructuring plan with the Court of Milan, which would allow it to continue to operate while holding discussions with creditors under the so-called process of “composition with creditors.” In the filing, Roberto Cavalli SpA requested 120 days to prepare the restructuring plan and to allow the company to continue to evaluate potential new expressions of interest to buy the brand. That was followed by Cavalli’s American subsidiary Art Fashion Corp. filing for Chapter 7, ceasing all operations. Creative director Paul Surridge exited the fashion house in March.
Damac could be especially interested in Cavalli because its strategic investment arm Dico International is working on a five-star hotel tower in Dubai that is expected to comprise 220 rooms and to be completed in 2023. When the deal was revealed, Cavalli’s chief executive officer Gian Giacomo Ferraris said this was the first of at least five hotels, called Aykon, to open in 10 years. Damac, which is one of the top 10 companies publicly listed on the Dubai Financial Market with a market capitalization of $4 billion, is funding the project with an investment of $500 million. Damac is also building Just Cavalli villas in Dubai.
Renzo Rosso’s OTB, parent of brands such as Diesel, Marni and Maison Margiela, is said to still be in the running. The investment would also make sense for OTB, as the group’s manufacturing arm Staff International is Just Cavalli’s licensee.
The New York-based Marquee Brands, whose portfolio includes Ben Sherman, Bruno Magli, Body Glove, BCBG Max Azria, BCBGeneration and the Dakine athletic brand, is another interested party. As reported, Rothschild, the adviser tapped to find a buyer, negotiated with Marquee Brands together with English fund OpCapita LLP and Interparfums Inc., which showed interest in acquiring the brand’s perfume label for 44 million euros, but this meant reaching an agreement with licensee Coty Geneva SA. Sources pointed to Marquee Brands alone eyeing the brand this time.
According to market sources, Bluestar Alliance, which has investments in Tahari, Bebe and Catherine Malandrino, continues to look at Cavalli, while Philipp Plein Holding AG, partnering with Luxembourg-based Blue Skye Financial Partners Sarl, has bowed out.
A market source said Bluestar Alliance has linked with Coty and submitted a binding offer for 100 percent of the company. The source said Bluestar “has an understanding with Roberto Cavalli the designer to reengage him in the brand to a certain extent. They believe it is very important to have him involved.”
The source also claimed that Bluestar and Coty have submitted a five-year plan as part of their bid and have secured the funds to pay off creditors, which the source contended would save 200 jobs.
At the end of April 2015, Clessidra Sgr revealed it was buying 90 percent of Roberto Cavalli SpA in a deal that was to be completed by a newly established company called Varenne, controlled by Clessidra but including L-GAM and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd.