HONG KONG — Chinese men’s wear giant Trinity Ltd. has agreed to acquire Paris-based fashion house Cerruti in a cash deal capped at 53 million euros, or $69.6 million at current exchange.
Trinity, which is part of the Li & Fung group, holds the license to distribute Cerruti 1881 men’s wear in Greater China. It will buy 100 percent of the business and various Cerruti trademarks from a subsidiary of U.S. private equity firm MatlinPatterson Global Opportunities Partners II L.P. and some of its affiliates.
“The acquisition of Cerruti fits in with our strategy to own intellectual rights or take on long-term licenses in high-end to luxury men’s wear brands with a strong heritage and a proven track record,” Trinity’s group managing director, Wong Yat Ming, said Wednesday.
Trinity executives anticipate the Cerruti deal will close within three months. The men’s company operates more than 100 Cerruti 1881 shops in over 50 cities in Greater China.
“We will now capitalize on the value we have created for the brand over the past years by further expanding the Cerruti business in Asia, as well as introducing new product categories by managing nonapparel product lines such as leather goods, perfumes and watches,” Wong said.
The disclosure of the deal confirmed a WWD report in October.
Florent Perrichon, Cerruti’s chief executive officer, told WWD that the acquisition “makes a lot of sense. Cerruti went through a good transition over the past four years thanks to MatlinPatterson — from out of bankruptcy and into a more stable phase.”
Perrichon said the company’s sales are back in growth mode.
“Now it is perfect timing for us to join a group where we are a strategic investment for the long term,” he said.
Perrichon said there will be opportunity for “the whole Cerruti family” to expand not only in Asia but possibly globally.
In January, during the men’s wear shows in Paris, Trinity executives will look at operations and consider restructuring needs, although Cerruti headquarters and its flagship store will remain in Paris.
Cerruti was founded in Italy in 1881 and became noted for its men’s wear under the aegis of Nino Cerruti. He sold the fashion house to an Italian industrial group in 2000 and there was a revolving door of owners and designers. MaitlinPatterson bought the business in 2006. Cerruti is hoping to make a comeback under the creative direction of Richard Nicoll for women’s wear. The brand recently named Zoran Bosanac artistic director of Cerruti, with overall responsibility for visual communications and image.
The men’s wear segment of the Cerruti business, which has been licensed to Trinity since the Eighties, has seen significant gains in Greater China, and Wong expects it will grow further with the addition of product lines and stores.
Trinity operates a total of 381 stores specializing in high- to luxury-end men’s wear in 53 locales in Greater China, such as Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.