MILAN — The new owners of the Malo and Gianfranco Ferré brands will be decided in June.

This story first appeared in the April 29, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Italy’s minister of economic development Claudio Scajola approved public auctions for Malo and Ferré earlier this month and interested parties will exercise a one-month due diligence investigation. Final offers for Malo will be submitted on June 3, while those for Ferré will be presented in mid-June, given the notification of Ferré’s auction will be published in major newspapers in a few days.

IT Holding SpA, parent company of Ferré, Malo and manufacturing arm Ittierre SpA, has been in government-backed bankruptcy protection since February 2009. Ittierre, which produces the Just Cavalli, C’N’C Costume National, Galliano and Ermanno Scervino collections, is also expected to be sold just before or after the summer, depending on Scajola’s green light for the auction of the production company.

“It is a very structured process, quick, but transparent, rigorous and precise,” Andrea Ciccoli, one of the three state-appointed administrators, told WWD.

According to sources, the following have expressed their interest to advisers Mediobanca and Sin&rgetica in acquiring Malo: private equity fund Opera, in which Bulgari holds a minority stake, and headed by Italian investor Michele Russo; Ningxia Zhongyin Cashmere Co. Ltd. of China, which last year took control of Todd & Duncan from Dawson International plc.; sock and knitwear company Ciocca, founded in 1912 and located near Brescia, Italy, which also controls the Drumohr brand and high-end firm Della Ciana Cashmere, founded by Carlo Della Ciana in Perugia, Italy, in 1978.

Sources said the following are looking at the Ferré dossier: Milan and Vicenza-based private equity firm Palladio Finanziaria; New York-based merchant banking firm Pcm-Prodos Capital Management, and hedge fund firm Amber Capital Investment Management, also headquartered in New York.

Ciccoli declined to confirm the interested parties. The administrator, however, said the offers will need to include future strategies for the brands. “It would be necessary for investors to plan a five-year, mid- to long-term development for each brand,” he said. Ciccoli said the group has “overcome its most horrible moment” with improvements in production, deliveries and at retail.

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