MILAN — The year 2019 is shaping up to be quite active on the M&A front for the Italian fashion industry, in the wake of the $2.1 billion acquisition of Versace last September by Michael Kors Holding, which is being renamed Capri Holdings.
Just before Christmas, speculation was rife around Trussardi, as sources contended that negotiations with management company Quattro R SGR SpA to sell a majority stake were ongoing. A contract is expected to be finalized once an agreement has been reached with the pool of lenders, ranging from UniCredit to Intesa Sanpaolo banks. Trussardi is a family owned-company helmed by Tomaso Trussardi and has seen the exit of his sister Gaia Trussardi, who left her role as creative director last April, and of their sibling Beatrice in 2016.
Several family companies in Italy are going through changes and succession plans. Missoni in June 2018 sold a 41.2 percent stake to the government-backed FSI Mid-Market Growth Equity Fund for 70 million euros to help better position the brand for global retail expansion and a possible initial public offering down the road. Angela Missoni took on the role of president, while maintaining her creative director title, flanked by vice president Michele Norsa.
Following the death of matriarch Wanda Miletti Ferragamo in October, analysts and observers wondered if and when the Ferragamo family might exit the Salvatore Ferragamo company, which is publicly listed in Milan but still majority owned by the family. But the family and chairman Ferruccio Ferragamo have repeatedly said the company is not for sale.
And who will secure an investment in Roberto Cavalli? The rumors swirling over the company heated up in December when, according to market sources, around 10 “interested parties” made contact with Rothschild, the adviser tapped by Cavalli’s owner, Italian private equity fund Clessidra SGR. OTB, parent of brands ranging from Diesel to Maison Margiela, is said to have also been interested and “made contact,” but sources said the group, founded by Renzo Rosso, may have not actually submitted an offer.
Sources say Tapestry Inc., parent company of Coach, Stuart Weitzman and Kate Spade, has looked at Cavalli’s dossier, without submitting an offer. As reported, Tapestry may be eyeing possible M&A targets and has not ruled out looking overseas for the company’s next transaction. An unidentified Chinese fund is also said to be interested in Cavalli.
Chief executive officer Gian Giacomo Ferraris has spearheaded the turnaround of Cavalli, now designed by Paul Surridge, since his arrival in May 2016, and he expects the company to reach operating profitability in the 2018 fiscal year.
As rumors continue to swirl around Buccellati and its ownership, the Italian jewelry company expected to close 2018 with an uptick in sales and is planning the celebrations to mark its 100th anniversary in 2019. The company is now controlled by Gansu Gangtai Group, which acquired 85 percent of the firm in 2017. The Buccellati family and private equity company Clessidra SGR retained a 15 percent stake.
Market sources say Gansu Gangtai Group is seeking a coinvestor to help further develop the brand, helmed by ceo Gianluca Brozzetti. As reported, according to Milan-based sources, the Chinese government’s clampdown on foreign investment is affecting the development of some fashion brands, including Buccellati, and that founding family members were frustrated over a lack of investment in the house by its current owner.
As reported, market speculation indicated Compagnie Financière Richemont as one party that could be eyeing Buccellati, but the Swiss luxury group had no comment.
Rumors are also circulating around Twinset Milano as owner The Caryle Group is expected to make an exit after initially acquiring a 70 percent stake in 2012, followed by another 20 percent holding in 2015.
Observers are also watching a new investment vehicle called Archive Srl, controlled by Remo Ruffini. In October, Archive acquired a 49 percent stake in women’s wear company Attico, followed by the purchase of a 40 percent shareholding in Langosteria Holding Srl, which includes high-end seafood restaurants in Milan.
Archive is an independent company managed by Stefano Marcovaldi and controlled by Ruffini Partecipazioni Holding. Ruffini Partecipazioni is controlled by Ruffini, Moncler’s chairman and ceo who is also Moncler’s main stakeholder.
“Archive Srl is an independent company incorporated in June 2018 with the aim to acquire minority shareholdings in small companies operating in the ready-to-wear, food and beverage, and hospitality sectors in order to develop their business,” Pietro Ruffini, an executive member of the board of Archive and the son of Remo Ruffini, said at the time.