MILAN — Roberto Cavalli now officially has a new owner.
The acquisition of the brand was finalized on Thursday, as the founder and chairman of Dubai-based Damac Properties, Hussain Sajwani, confirmed the purchase of 100 percent of the Italian fashion house through his private investment company Vision Investments. Vision Investments, part of the Dico Group, is an evolution of a partnership that was signed in 2017 between Cavalli and the Dico Group for the development of Cavalli interiors for luxury hotels under the Aykon moniker.
“We are excited about carrying forward the incredible legacy of the Roberto Cavalli brand,” said Sajwani. “Dico has a long and fruitful association with Roberto Cavalli, and I believe that the brand resonates with our idea of luxury. I am happy to announce that the transaction was executed swiftly and that we will ensure stability in management throughout the transition period.”
As reported, it is understood that Cavalli’s chief executive officer Gian Giacomo Ferraris was instrumental in sealing the deal and was expected to stay on to lead the brand. “At Dico Investments, we aspire to own internationally recognized brands, and this acquisition marks a significant step in our strategy,” Sajwani added.
Dico, which is Sajwani’s multibillion-dollar investment arm established in 1992, 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, Ferraris said this was the first of at least five Aykon hotels to open in 10 years and to be decorated by Cavalli. 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.
Dico’s investments are divided into five core areas: capital markets; real estate; hotels and resorts; manufacturing, and catering and now luxury fashion. Some of Dico Investment’s most notable activities include the 50-story Damac Towers Nine Elms in London; a luxury resort in the Maldives; shopping malls in Iraq, and the Mina Al Sultan Qaboos Waterfront real estate project in Oman. The investment company plans to deploy approximately $3 billion over the next few years in key markets across Western Europe and the U.S. Today, the DICO Group’s global footprint extends across North America, Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa.
As reported, last month the Court of Milan approved the buyer’s restructuring plan for Cavalli and was due to give an official green light to allow to finalize the sale.
This summer, Vision Investment signed a binding contract with the Florence-based fashion company and its shareholder Varenne 3 to acquire 100 percent of the firm. Italian private equity fund Clessidra Sgr took control of Cavalli in 2015 through its Varenne vehicle, which at the time included L-GAM and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd.
The binding agreement was in compliance with Cavalli’s “composition with creditors” with the Court of Milan and it allowed the business to continue while it held discussions with creditors and implemented a debt restructuring plan. Financial details and the amount of the debt were not disclosed, although sources peg the transaction at around 160 million euros and believe the agreement includes a capital increase of around 65 million euros and the payment of all creditors.
The finalization of the deal comes after a tough several months for Cavalli, which included the company’s American subsidiary Art Fashion Corp. filing for Chapter 7 and ceasing all operations in April. In March, the brand’s creative director Paul Surridge exited the fashion house.