The employees of Vivarte protesting in front of the French economy ministry.

PARIS — Ailing French apparel group Vivarte has found a buyer for fashion brand Kookaï in the form of its Australian licensee Magi.

The deal, which Vivarte described as allowing “for the brand to fully exploit its great potential,” brings 195 stores in France, Spain and Switzerland, into Magi’s portfolio.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Kookaï employs 500 people and registered 2016 sales of 76 million euros, or $84.1 million at average exchange, Vivarte said.

The brand has been undergoing a turnaround plan for two years, which Vivarte stated “contributed to a return to better financial results, offering new business perspectives for the brand.”

Family-owned Magi, created in 1992, has been operating the Kookaï brand in Australia and New Zealand, with its own creative studio in Melbourne, for 26 years. It runs 39 stores under the banner and had sales of 105 million Australian dollars, or $77.9 million, last year.

Kookaï, founded in 1983 by Kean-Lou Tepper, Jacques Nataf and Philippe de Hesdin, was put up for sale alongside the Chevignon and Pataugas properties in January this year as Vivarte struggled to pay back around 1.5 billion euros, or $1.7 billion at current exchange, in debt.

Footwear chain André, Vivarte’s oldest brand dating from 1886, and apparel retailer Naf Naf were subsequently also put on the block in a restructuring drive that had emotions running high in France in the face of widespread threats of layoffs.

Looking ahead, Vivarte plans to focus on three distinct activities: its La Halle and Besson banners in suburban areas; urban shoe labels Minelli, San Marina and CosmoParis, and apparel retailer Caroll.

The company is present in around 70 countries and registered revenues of 2.2 billion, or $2.44 billion at average exchange, in 2016.

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