MILAN — Italian private equity fund DGPA Capital, controlled by Style Capital SGR, has sold 100 percent of beachwear brand Sundek’s global licensee to Italian holding Mo.da Gioielli Srl, which was established by Twin Set founder and former creative director Simona Barbieri along with her husband Tiziano Sgarbi.
According to several local media reports over the weekend, the transaction comprises the acquisition of Kickoff SpA, Sundek’s licensee for the Italian market since 1988. In 2007, Kickoff inked a global licensing agreement with Sundek Apparel LLC for the design, production and worldwide distribution of the brand.
As part of the buyout, Mo.da Gioielli also acquired the brand’s rights, which Kickoff did not already own, from the U.S.-based Sundek Apparel LLC.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed and a Kickoff spokeswoman told WWD the company “will meet with the fund in mid-January.”
DGPA Capital first acquired 60 percent of Kickoff in 2008 for 38 million euros, then took over the company founded in 1979 by Luciano Pacini in 2015.
Founded in California in 1958 by Stuart Levin, who invented the brand’s signature logo with a sun rising above the deck, Sundek took advantage in the Sixties of the rise of U.S. surf culture and, in the Seventies, its colorful, comfortable, durable and fast-drying two-ply nylon taffeta board shorts, featuring rainbow stripes, became key to its success.
Last June, Kickoff’s co-chief executive officer Alberto Giganti said in 2018 the company posted revenues of 24 million euros, up 13 percent compared to the previous year, while generating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 5.3 million euros. They are expected to reach 5.9 million euros in 2019.
The company operates 16 directly controlled flagships, including recently opened units in Taormina, Italy; Cannes, France, and Barcelona, as well as 16 franchised shops.
In keeping with the natural evolution of a private equity firm’s strategy, Style Capital said it aimed to exit the company after 10 years.
“We are very proud of what we achieved with Sundek,” Style Capital investment director Roberto Gattoni told WWD last June. “When we made our investment, Italy accounted for 97 percent of the company’s total business and now the percentage decreased to 70 percent thanks to an expansion in the international markets. The company was only wholesale, their business was profitable but not in line with the evolution of the market, so we successfully developed a retail strategy.”
In 2017, Barbieri left her role as creative director and director of Twin Set-Simona Barbieri, selling the remaining 10 percent stake in her namesake company to the Carlyle Group, which first acquired 70 percent of Twin Set in 2012, then upping its stake to 90 percent in 2015.
Barbieri and Sgarbi’s holding Mo.da Gioielli Srl currently controls, through the Abraham Industries company they acquired in 2007, the Liviana Conti, Erika Cavallini, Semicouture and Circus Hotel fashion labels.